Author

Aly Semigran
Staff editor Aly Semigran is a New York City native who grew up in Philadelphia and spent the better part of her youth trying to figure out what the Philly Phanatic was (an anteater?), quoting 'The Simpsons,' and learning all about movies from her dad. After graduating from Temple University, where she studied journalism, she moved back to NYC and began her career as a freelance entertainment journalist. Her work has been published in Entertainment Weekly, Maxim, Philadelphia Weekly, Philadelphia City Paper, MTV.com, and iVillage.com. She is thrilled to be a part of the Hollywood.com team and she is still quoting 'The Simpsons.' ('I'm Idaho!')
  • 'Mad Men' Star Rich Sommer Discusses 'Happy Don'
    By: Aly Semigran Apr 24, 2012
    Be it the cracks in the already rocky foundation of his relationship with wife Megan or pressure from Burt Cooper to get back to work, the honeymoon may soon be over, in every sense of the word, for Don Draper on Mad Men. But fans of the firing-on-all-cylinders AMC drama aren't the only ones enjoying the days of Happy Don...while they last. Hollywood.com caught up with Mad Men star Rich Sommer at the world premiere of his new film The Giant Mechanical Man at the Tribeca Film Festival on Monday and the actor discussed the shift in Jon Hamm's conflicted character and how it's reflected on everyone else. "It's great to see Don in a different place," the 34-year-old said on the red carpet, "I remember last year when Don announced his engagement there was a stage direction that read, 'We see Don smile bigger than we've ever seen him smile.'" Of course, not everyone has the same sunny disposition as Don Draper (yes, that Don Draper) thus far in the game-changing season five, particularly Sommer's unhappily married Harry Crane and Vincent Kartheiser's sinking Pete Campbell. "I don't know that Pete and Harry are in that different a place from where they've ever been before," Sommer said of the sad sack characters, "It's just juxtaposed against a now happier Don, they look really, really bummed out." Still, like most things in the world of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, it's safe to assume nothing will stay the same. "I don't know what's going on in [Don's] head," the actor said, recalling Sunday night's stunning episode in which Don and Megan wound up in a devastating fight, "Obviously that...was not an easy night for him." Mad Men airs on Sundays at 10 PM on AMC and Sommer will soon be seen on Broadway starring opposite Jim Parsons in Harvey beginning June 14. The Giant Mechanical Man opens in limited release on Friday, April 27. [Photo credit: David Edwards- © 2011- DailyCeleb.com- All Rights Reserved] More: Mad Men Recap: What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been Mad Men Recap: Packing a Punch Mad Men Recap: An American Horror Story
  • 'The Voice' Coaches in Talks to Return: The Perfect Panel?
    By: Aly Semigran Apr 24, 2012
    When The Voice debuted in 2011, it prided itself on being the reality competition that was all about the talent. Now in its popular second season, the NBC hit can say it's achieved that bragging right, but perhaps not in the way they had initially planned. With the exception of this year's potential mainstream breakouts like Tony Lucca and Cheesa, this season has been all about The Voice judges Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine, and Blake Shelton. They bicker! They get along! They appear on magazines together! They wear amusing hats! They have a cat that may or may not be more lively than Carson Daly! (Sorry Robo-Daly, Purrfect has got you there.) If you've continued to tune in to The Voice beyond the post-Super Bowl mania, there's a good chance it's because you want to see how much Adam and Christina can make each other uncomfortable or to fathom how you went this long in your life without being madly in love with Blake. So it's of no surprise that NBC is doing everything they need to keep the foursome firmly planted in their spinning chairs. According to Deadline, NBC is working on deals (read: salary hikes and scheduling) with all four of the judges to return for the third season, which the network is hoping to have start up in the fall. While the judges are still arguably their biggest draw, it begs the question of how long The Voice can survive on that alone. Will viewers want to see some new blood in the coming seasons or do panel shake-ups, like the ones American Idol has seen over the past few seasons, only hurt the show? Plus, if Britney Spears does join X-Factor will all other competition shows be forced to up their game? (Then again, if The Voice can get Britney to stop by for "a real Mickey Mouse Club reunion" as Christina suggested during last night's episode, that could be the ultimate ratings dream come true. If they convince Ryan Gosling and Justin Timberlake to stop by too, you can pretty much expect the Internet to collapse in on itself.) With Christina, Cee Lo, Adam, and Blake seem all but locked in for a third season, we still can't help but wonder if NBC were to go in a direction for Season 4 and beyond, who could replace them? Assuming they would stick to the same formula or archetype, here's who The Voice could have come on board: The Diva: No Christina? No problem! (Sorry, Kate.) Aretha Franklin would be ideal an ideal replacement for her iconic voice and penchant for crazy hats, but if there's anyone more tailor-made for reality television right now than Mariah Carey, we'd be hard-pressed to find her. Plus, think of the reunion with Carson Daly! The Swoon-Worthy Country Dude: We don't want to imagine a world without Blake Shelton, but if we had to, it seems like Keith Urban would be a good stand-in for country star with a famous wife and good sense of humor about himself. The Flamboyant Soul Singer: Cee Lo's replacement would need soul and style to spare, which would make OutKast's terribly hip Andre 3000 the ultimate viable candidate. Bonus points if he also has a cat. The Douchey Rocker: Adam pulls off being equal parts hot and douchey with total ease, but The Killers' front man Brandon Flowers, who loves to make comments that get under people's skin, is no slouch in that department either. Are you glad The Voice judges seem to be on the track to return for Season 3 or were you hoping for a new mentors? Do you like our picks or did you have some other stars in mind to take a spin in the spinny chairs? Would the show sink or swim without Christina, Adam, Cee Lo, and Blake?  Sound off in the comments section and take our poll!'The Voice' Judges Poll [Photo credit: NBC] More: The Voice Stars Talk Shocking Eliminations The Voice Recap: Please Welcome Justin Bieber The Voice Recap: Instant Eliminations! Just Add Ego. Serve Cold.
  • Cher and Chaz Bono at the GLAAD Awards – PHOTO
    By: Aly Semigran Apr 23, 2012
    There was so much wonderful surrounding Cher and Chaz Bono's appearance at the 23rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards over the weekend. It was wonderful that the legendary singer was on hand to present her son with two awards at the event for his groundbreaking documentary Becoming Chaz and the Stephen F. Kolzak Award, which is presented to those whose work promoting equality has made a difference. It's wonderful that the 43-year-old Dancing With the Stars contestant is being acknowledged for everything he's done to help the transgender community. It's wonderful that Cher continues to show support for her son. (During her time on stage, Cher told the audience, "I'm here because Chaz has the most courage of almost anyone I know.") But honestly, there is nothing more wonderful than everything that's going on this picture. Well, it probably wasn't such a wonderful night for anyone who sat behind the 65-year-old singer, but still. Check it out:     [Photo credit: AP Photo/Vince Bucci] More: Hunger Games Star Josh Hutcherson Honored for Gay Rights Activism Cher Defends Son Chaz Bono Against 'Bigots' Cher Bashes the Kardashians on Twitter
  • 'Veep': Did The Comedy Get Your Vote?
    By: Aly Semigran Apr 23, 2012
    For those unfamiliar with Armando Iannucci and Simon Blackwell's bitingly funny BBC series The Thick of It or their Oscar-nominated 2009 film In the Loop, the premiere episode of their new HBO comedy Veep may have felt like something of a culture shock. The language was coarse, the politics were unabashedly politically incorrect, and the awkward moments gave Girls a run for its money last night. Of course, for fans of Iannucci and Blackwell's unflinching, hilarious take on the world of politics, things felt like business as usual. In fact, maybe too much so. Granted, there was no Malcolm Tucker to be found screaming in anyone's face (shame, really) but a band of merry inept politicos were still on hand in full force. This time around it's U.S. Vice President Selina Meyer (an outstanding Julia Louis-Dreyfus) leading the pack. Well, misleading the pack would be more like it. She's surrounded by the likes of the hapless, but surprisingly helpful Gary (Arrested Development's Tony Hale), the driven, deviant Dan (My Boys' Reid Scott), the salty Mike McClintock (Matt Walsh), the obnoxious pariah Jonah (newcomer Timothy Simons) and her understandably stressed Chief of Staff Amy (My Girl's Anna Chlumsky.) Taking the anti-series premiere approach, Veep thrust viewers into the day in the life of Selina and her dysfunctional, foul-mouthed team with no formal introduction. This particular day happened to include the unpoised Selina ticking off the plastics industry, forgetting to sign a card for a recently deceased sexually harassing Senator, and making a "retard" joke during a speech that went terribly awry. The West Wing, this is not. While there's undoubtedly some shadows of truth to what it's like behind closed doors in Washington (or ajar doors where complaints like "I need a sh**" are heard terribly out of context) Dreyfus' Selina comes off more like the R-rated Michael Scott of the White House than an insightful swipe at politics. That's not to say Veep's exaggerated take down of Washington didn't have its share of laughs. The talented Chlumsky (more or less reprising her character from In The Loop) trading barbs with Simons (more or less taking over the part of Zach Woods' annoying Chad, so much so I expected him to ask if she could smell bisque at any moment) made for a hilariously cringe-worthy dynamic, Hale's yes-man enthusiasm resulted in some subtly great physical comedy, and Louis-Dreyfus' unflinching delivery of lines like "There aren't enough people in here to fill a f***ing canoe" all helped propel Veep to becoming a prime candidate for Sunday's already packed TV lineup. While Iannucci and Blackwell didn't give the pilot episode of Veep a killer, laugh-out-loud line in the same vein of In The Loop (I kept waiting for a "lemon difficult"-level zinger) that's not to say it didn't have some gems that got funnier when they crept up on your later. Namely, this interaction: "What if Tom Hanks dies?" "What a dark thought!" For newcomers Veep will, hopefully, become a series that grows on them thanks to its deliciously twisted office dynamics and stellar performances, lead by an Emmy-bound Dreyfus. For those coming in as In The Loop and The Thick of It enthusiasts, the hope that the show will go above and beyond what we've seen before. Which is some pretty f***ed up stuff. What did you think of Veep? Did you go into the series as a fan or a newbie? Were you put off by it or get a kick out of the no-holds-barred banter? Which character did you love to cringe at the most? Did Julia Louis-Dreyfus' line that glasses are "a wheelchair for the eye" remind you a little bit of something out of Seinfeld, too? Will you tune in again next week or will Veep not make the cut for Sunday night's jam-packed schedule? Sound off in the comments section! [Photo credit: HBO] More: Veep Star Anna Chlumsky Talks Hollywood, Humor, HBO HBO's Veep Teasers: Hail to the Seinfeld and My Girl Alums! HBO For Free? Pay Network Offers Girls and Veep to Non-Subscribers
  • Fox Celebrates 25 Years: What's Your Fondest Memory? 
    By: Aly Semigran Apr 22, 2012
    Without aging myself too much here, I will say Fox has been around almost as long as I have. The network —which began broadcasting on April 5, 1987 and is celebrating its 25 years on the air with a two-hour retrospective show tonight called Fox 25th Anniversary Special — is largely responsible to forming my love for all things television and my warped sense of humor.  I, like many other pop culture junkies, wouldn't be the person I am today if it had not been for one of Fox's most popular and beloved shows, the groundbreaking, long-running animated series The Simpsons. I became a fan from the moment I met the Springfield clan on The Tracey Ullman Show and two decades later, I'm still re-watching my favorite episodes and quoting their best lines. The Simpsons was ahead of its time with its smart, subversive humor and Fox has to be given a lot of credit for taking a gamble on such a show and allowing it to become part of the pop culture zeitgeist.  Of course, The Simpsons wasn't the only Fox show that had an impact on my life: Married... with Children was the first show I ever got in trouble for watching, Beverly Hills, 90210 was the first live-action show that I owned a lunchbox and dolls for, The X-Files was the first show to ever make me want to sleep with the light on, and Arrested Development, much like The Simpsons, tapped into my comedy psyche in a way nothing else had before.  But, I'm curious, over the past 25 years, what has been your fondest memory of watching Fox? Was it discovering future superstars like Johnny Depp and Jim Carrey, thanks to 21 Jump Street and In Living Color, respectively? Was it getting sucked in to guilty pleasures like COPS or Party of Five or The O.C.? Or has it been something greater like becoming inspired to follow your dreams of becoming a singer thanks to American Idol or feeling accepted because of Glee?  The Fox 25th Anniversary Special, which features appearances from some of the network's biggest and most influential stars, including AI's Ryan Seacrest, 24's Kiefer Sutherland, Ally McBeal's Calista Flockhart, and Family Guy's Seth MacFarlane airs tonight at 8 PM ET on, you guessed it, Fox.  Share your thoughts and feelings on your favorite Fox shows from the past 25 years from The Ben Stiller Show to That '70s Show to Bones to New Girl in the comments section. (But, let's all try to forget about Joe Millionaire and The Swan, shall we?)  [Photo credit: Fox/Matt Groening]  More:  Glee, New Girl, and Raising Hope Renewed Through 2013  Fox to Cancel House After Eight Seasons  Terra Nova Hunts For New Network
  • 'Veep' Star Anna Chlumsky Talks Hollywood, Humor, and HBO
    By: Aly Semigran Apr 22, 2012
    Anna Chlumsky isn't alone. In fact, the actress, best known for her role as the sweet and spunky Veda in the beloved 1991 dramedy My Girl, is surrounded by artists constantly remembered for their former nostalgia-inducing projects. On her new HBO series Veep, Chlumsky, 31, stars alongside the likes of Seinfeld vet Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Arrested Development alum Tony Hale. In pop culture terms, when Veda met Elaine and Buster. "What I'm realizing is that's almost more the rule than the exception," Chlumsky tells Hollywood.com about being associated with a particular role. "Growing up it was the exception because I was maybe the only one in my school or my circle of friends that had that experience. But now that I know more people in the industry, I am realizing this happens to almost everybody." (Chlumsky — who took a long hiatus from acting to study International Relations at the University of Chicago and explore her options outside of Hollywood — also acknowledges why there is a special love for certain childhood films, "Whenever people are excited about My Girl, I always think if I met the kids from The Neverending Story. I would probably be the same way.") And when it comes to Veep, Chlumsky is certainly in some very good company of those who have a memorable body of work attached to their name. Not only does the actress get to work with sitcom royalty like Louis-Dreyfus ("She's an incredible technician and at the same time she manages the balance of being totally open and impulsive when they call 'Action!'," Chlumsky said of working with the star), but she gets to re-team with Armando Iannucci, the man behind the film that kick-started her full-time return to acting, the bitingly funny 2009 Oscar-nominated political satire In The Loop.    "It wasn't even just a relief with work with Armando again, it's one of the best joys of my career so far," Chlumsky says. "Just to work with him even once during In The Loop and then to be called up again to do an even longer project. He and his team [including scribe Simon Blackwell] works in a way that just really gels with the way I work. I've always just felt really trusted by them and so fulfilled, so that was something I was really looking forward to doing again. It was neat because it was a new venture, a new character." That character is Amy, the hard-working, if not incredibly stressed-out, Chief of Staff to Louis-Dreyfus' Selina Meyer, the well-meaning, but gaffe-prone Vice President of the United States of America. While their characters and the setting are unequivocally American, the humor is pure Iannucci. But Chlumsky is not worried about the laughs getting lost in translation with U.S. audiences, or with anyone outside of political world.  "When we did the D.C. premiere, there were certainly moments where you just heard those individual laughs where you knew that it resonated with someone really, really closely," Chlumsky says. "Something that I realized about Armando and his writing team for In The Loop and The Thick of It and now Veep is that they are kind of brilliant at every type of humor. They can do highbrow and lowbrow right in the same sentence and it totally works. They can do slapstick, they can do visual gags, they can do puns, they can do cerebral humor. They kind of run the gamut and as a result, there truly is something for everybody." In every sense of the word. Veep falls into HBO's already buzzy and eclectic Sunday night line-up, airing between the feverishly popular Game of Thrones and the much-talked-about Girls. "I'm excited first and foremost as a viewer, because Game of Thrones is one of my very favorite shows and now having seen the pilot of Girls and being a Lena Dunham fan, I get to watch three shows that I personally love," Chlumsky says.  "And how lucky am I that I'm actually in something that I would watch as an audience?"  Also making the My Girl star feel lucky? Seeing her show air on a barrier-breaking night that celebrates, well, girls, thanks to Veep and Girls. "We're at this place where we're pushing the next stylistic envelope," Chlumsky says, noting that Dunham and Iannucci's approach to comedy are actually quite similar. "That's always been Arm's style to be very fly on the wall, very documentary, we always dirty up the dialogue and that's kind of Lena Dunham's style as well. She is so balls-out and really is telling a very, very simply dirty truth. She doesn't push for grit — it's just that's actually the way life is and that's a nice thread between Arm's work. Let's just tell the stories of these people and see how people behave. We don't have to glam it up. I think HBO has really hit a new stylistic note with our shows, which is a joy to be a part of." Welcome back.  Veep premieres on HBO tonight at 10 PM ET. [Photo credit: HBO]  Follow Aly on Twitter @AlySemigran More:  HBO's Veep Teasers: Hail to the Seinfeld and My Girl Alums!  HBO Offers Girls and Veep for Non-Subscribers  More Girls and Veep Teasers: Watch Here!
  • Lana Del Rey's 'SNL' to Rerun This Weekend: Will You Watch Again?
    By: Aly Semigran Apr 20, 2012
    Saturday Night Live won't return with a new episode until May 5, when Super Bowl champ/America's baby brother Eli Manning hosts the show for his first time with musical guest Rihanna — but you should still mark your calendars for this weekend. It will be the first time SNL has aired Daniel Radcliffe's episode from back in January, which featured the infamous Lana Del Rey performance. Yes, the polarizing singer who spawned immediate Internet backlash and then backlash for that backlash (including support from Radcliffe, Whitney Cummings,  and SNL's own Kristen Wiig) thanks to her wobbly numbers "Video Games" and "Blue Jeans" (her back story didn't help matters much either) will be back on television again this weekend. And you better believe you'll see cries of "Oh my God, it's just as bad as it was the first time!" and "I don't see what the big problem is!" on Twitter when it happens. Whether or not her infamous SNL visit turns out the defining moment of her burgeoning music career remains to be seen, but the 25-year-old has been keeping as busy as possible since that fateful night. She has since released her eagerly awaited album Born to Die on January 27, 2012, and thus announced her retirement from songwriting in February to the UK edition of Vogue. Del Rey, who helped make SNL a (temporary) distant memory with some other better-received television appearances, will spend her summer touring the U.S. and the UK. Will you tune in to watch Del Rey's SNL again or was once enough for you? Hey, at the very least you'll get to see Daniel Radcliffe dress up as a dog again! Sound off in the comments section! [Photo credit: NBC] More: Lana Del Rey Lands Vogue Cover Daniel Radcliffe Makes Comedy Magic on Saturday Night Live Saturday Night Live Recap: Josh Brolin's Goatee and Gotye Hollywood.com
  • '30 Rock' Recap: We Need To Talk About Kevins 
    By: Aly Semigran Apr 20, 2012
    One can only assume while watching last night's new 30 Rock that the episode's writers Vali Chandrasekaran and Robert Carlock had an especially bad experience while sitting on an Ashley Furniture couch, chewing Bazooka Joe bubblegum and watching a Lindsay Lohan movie. (I know, it sounds like a good time to me, too.) Because, with the exception of weekly hilarious target Mickey Rourke (who sent a bouquet filled with spiders this time around), no one got it worse on 30 Rock last night than couches, gum, and LiLo. Then again, Jack and Jenna haven't exactly had the best go of things lately. Jack, desperate to stay in Hank Hooper's good graces, opened up Kabletown's line of Kouchtown couches that were manufactured in an American factory and built by especially inept American engineers (lead by guest star and SNL player Bobby Moynihan.) While the prototype for their couches were a hit (Liz was especially fond of the "absorbent material for nap drool") the final product turned out to feel more like a torture device used for interrogations. Which is exactly what they wound up being used for when the government purchased them back.  The couches may not have been Jack's best business plan, but it wasn't a total disaster. In fact, those spine-crushing pieces of "furniture" could be the very thing that gets Avery back on U.S. soil as one of the people subjected to one had intel on her. I must say, all of Alec Baldwin's off-screen drama aside, this was one of his funniest and most sincere turns all season. (His meltdown in front of the couch industry elite could rival Jenna's.) If Baldwin is going out like he keeps saying he is, good God, at least he's going out on top. Meanwhile Jenna had her own Bad Idea of the Week when she opted to have a full-on celebrity meltdown in the hopes that it would win back Paul. How weird and reckless was it? In the end, it weirded Tracy out. That bad. She Kanye'd a spelling bee, jumped out of a window during a visit to The Today Show, made out with Paz de le Huerta at a children's museum, dined at Balthazar without a reservation and admitted she made a sex tape with the Six Flags guy. Still, against all odds, she wound up back in the arms of Paul L'astname. So did a poor handcuffed Tracy, too, for that matter. The only person who wasn't having a bad time was none other than Liz Lemon. My how things have changed this season, eh? Despite the fact that Murphy Brown had lied to her and career women everywhere about having it all, Liz has still gotten her "real life" on track. After resigning to the fact that she wouldn't have kids, Jack secretly set up a meeting with a Terrible Kevin (not a good Kevin like a Sorbo or a Costner or a Garnett) so that Liz could meet his daughter Kat, who was a mini-Liz, complete with sarcastic sense of humor, glasses, an unwanted schoolyard nickname, and feel a connection to a youth. (Super Virgin meet Pukes in Thermos!) Jack's plan to ensure there are more Liz Lemons in the world paid off. Liz realized she actually did want kids still and Criss agreed she'd make an awesome mom, though whether he'll be the one to have and raise a kid with her is up in the air. (Side note: Hollywood.com's own Kate Ward thinks James Marsden is a better catch than Ryan Gosling. Talk amongst yourselves.) While it's great that 30 Rock is finally giving Liz the life she wants and deserves, does her cheer that "Real life is starting" mean Liz Lemon has been lying to us, too? She has been a funny, aspirational, cheese-eating beacon for single career women everywhere for years. But if everything that lead to Criss and possibly a baby wasn't "real life" to Liz Lemon, what does it mean for the rest of us? Ack! While you mull that over, here are the best lines and moments from last night's 30 Rock "Murphy Brown Lied To Us": - Liz's clean up song from childhood: "Clean up, clean up, do your own housework, you little crackers!" - Liz and Criss' gay porn reenactment.  - Those Clint Eastwood Super Bowl commercial spoofs for Kouchtown. ("Nunchucking can wear a guy out.") - The visual of Raymour & Flannigan as conjoined twins. (If these couch companies weren't sponsors for 30 Rock before, they definitely aren't now.) - Liz's baby Princess Leia costume. Ideal for getting out of baby jury duty! - Jack's explanation of the early days of Bazooka Joe, which started as a pink rock quarry and at one point a "softer version of their gum was used to make armor-piercing bullets".  - Nixon 2016! - Mythbusters is Liz's ultimate aphrodisiac. - Liz's reason for going on a date with a stranger at a coffee shop: The possibility of a free ham sandwich and a jazz CD. - Matt Lauer upping the journalist guest spot ante for Brian Williams. - Jack's deep, dark secrets: He keeps buying candles as gifts and keeping them for himself, his natural hair color is bright red, he hates golf, and he once smoked a clove cigarette in college. - Twitter is actually a media-savvy crackhead friend of Tracy's. - Jenna's ex David Blaine doesn't actually levitate, he skateboards. - Criss' catchphrase "It's game go!" - Liz and Criss' idea of a good time is puzzles and stew. -"This is outrageous, I didn't get to work an hour late just to be the first one here!" - Tracy - "Years later the government took it over and turned it into a training facility for single mothers to teach illegal immigrants to fill out unemployment forms" - Jack at the Kouchtown factory where the engineers have only been equipped to make "roller coasters and Survivor challenges" - "So you don't start with the breakdown? You have to build to it! Like a C + C Music Factory song! My heyday was also the '90s"- Jenna, on her meltdown - "I'll finally get the acceptance every 39-year-old man craves from his girlfriend's boss"- Criss, on Jack - "People who talk the most in meetings often know the least" - Mini-Liz Kat's philosophy after experiencing the insulting Take Your Daughter to Work Day - "Sink them and create a reef to protect gay turtles? I don't know and I don't care"- Jack, on the fate of Kabletown couches after the CIA took them What did you think of last night's 30 Rock? Are you happy to see Liz finally getting her life in order or did it send the message that a woman's life doesn't actually start until she finds the right guy and has a kid? Blergh. Are you excited for next week's live episode? Sound off in the comments section. [Photo credit: NBC] More: Tina Fey Says The End is Near for 30 Rock 30 Rock Recap: Six Seasons and a Donaghy 30 Rock Recap: We Found Hornberger in a Hopeless Place
  • Martin Scorsese Remembers Levon Helm
    By: Aly Semigran Apr 20, 2012
    In the wake of the sad passing of rock n' roll legend Levon Helm, Martin Scorsese, who directed The Band member in the classic concert film The Last Waltz, paid tribute to the musician who passed away at the age of 71 on Wednesday after a long battle with lung cancer. (Helm discussed the film in his 1993 autobiography This Wheel's on Fire – Levon Helm and the Story of The Band.) The Oscar-winning director said in a statement regarding Helm: "The late Jim Carroll once said that Levon Helm was the only drummer who could make you cry, and he was absolutely right. Levon's touch was so delicate, so   deft, that he gave you more than just a beat - he gave the music a pulse. And his high, ringing voice was just as soulful. His bandmate Robbie Robertson wrote "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" for Levon to sing, and I'll never forget how moving it was to watch him sing it during their final performance at Winterland, which is one of the high points of the movie we made from that show, The Last Waltz. Levon was a gentleman, a consummate artist (and, I might add, a wonderful actor - his performance as Loretta Lynn's father in Coal Miner's Daughter is rich, understated, and very moving), and he loved music as deeply and truly as anyone I've ever met. I consider myself fortunate to have worked with Levon, and I am one among many, many people who will miss him." Scorcese's The Last Waltz, required viewing for any fans of The Band (or any fans of music, for that matter), chronicled the group's final live performance in 1976 at San Francisco's Winterland. The rock pic features performances of The Band's hits "Up On Cripple Creek" and the aforementioned "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" and appearances from Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, and Emmylou Harris, among many others. (And remember, this film should be played loud.) [Photo credit: David Edwards- © 2012- DailyCeleb.com- All Rights Reserved] More: Levon Helm Dies at 71 Levon Helm in 'Final Stages' of Battle with Cancer Levin Helm, The Band, and the Performance That Blew Me Away
  • 'Parks and Rec'-ap: Everything's Zen? I Don't Think So.
    By: Aly Semigran Apr 20, 2012
    Reunited and it felt so good. It had been six long weeks since we last saw our favorite parks and recreation employees from a small, fictitious Indiana town. (Suck it, Eagleton!) With Leslie's campaign, and thus the rest of season four, drawing close to the end, there was no time for plot lines about coming up with campaign theme songs or finding time in the day to "Treat yo'self." It was time to get down to business. If there's any testament to the staying power of Leslie Knope (an increasingly Emmy-worthy Amy Poehler) in this already rocky campaign, it was during last night's new episode of Parks and Recreation titled "Live Ammo." When we last saw Leslie she had a disastrous, drunk interview with Buddy Wood (Sean Hayes). So what could possibly be worst than that? Killing puppies. Sweet, adorable, innocent puppies. Of course Leslie wasn't actually killing puppies (or in the words of Tom, puuuuuupies.) But she did face the dilemma of having to close the local animal shelter, thanks to a budget cutting stand-off with Councilman Pilner (the always-great Bradley Whitford, back in political West Wing mode) before his impending retirement. Leslie would soon find out she would have to snap out of parks and rec mode and into a city council mindset. For a person who smiles 90 percent of the day, this is no easy task. But, come on, this is Leslie Knope we're talking about here. After being faced with the even worst prospect of losing the shelter and employees being cut in the budget (including her best friend, beautiful tropical fish Ann), Leslie put one whole, risky idea together. In a bold stroke of genius, Leslie convinced Bobby Newport's (we miss you, Paul Rudd) campaign manager Jennifer (Kathryn Hahn) to have her rival use his bottomless trust fund to save the animal shelter in exchange for no more negative campaigns and a negotiation with Pilner to save jobs and the budget. While the risky maneuver would undoubtedly give Bobby the edge with voters that week, Leslie quickly reminded Jennifer that the clueless, spoiled Bobby would have to face her in a debate soon. And nobody beats Leslie Knope in a debate. As if the stakes weren't high enough for Leslie, she has more than just her political future hanging in the balance — she has to consider Chris' future as well. After spending the day testing to see if Ron was a flexible enough coworker (by taking him, hilariously, to meditate) to appoint him as Assistant City Manager, Chris found out that if Bobby were to win, he would lose his job. Literally the worst news ever.  NEXT: The coolest thing since *NSYNC, Aerosmith, and Nelly performed together at the Super Bowl. While the idea of losing one's job, or complete upheaval of the entire government, may have thrilled the unintentionally zen Ron, the idea shook Chris to his typically very strengthened core. But leave it to Ron freakin' Swanson to know that it's not meditation that would help the struggling Chris. ("We're all just molecules, floating around in random patterns devoid of meaning," he said, hopelessly, if not accurately.) No, it was a glass of whiskey (the nectar of the Gods, if you will) and the shockingly sound advice of "Don't try so hard" that did the trick. (In fact, a newly enlightened Chris may have looked at his ex Ann in a whole new light. Sorry Tom! But, not really. Please break up, in spite of your amazing apartment.) Ron may not care about the government, but his quiet devotion to his friends and coworkers is a different story entirely. But Chris wasn't the only one facing the awful truth that, as an adult, sometimes no matter how hard we try, things don't always pan out and our once sound worldview can be shaken to its very core. (Wow, I guess I see I have more in common with Chris than I initially thought.) April had the very anti-April task of taking over for Leslie, a job which she soon found out was not, as Leslie had promised a "non-stop thrill ride." Before Leslie negotiated to keep the animal shelter  open, April took on the task of trying to save it and recruited Andy, Tom, Donna, and Gerry for help. April may be the anti-Leslie, but that doesn't mean she's incapable of having good ideas and a big heart, too.   When taking in all the animals from the shelter, including a headphone-eating piggy, April came up with a plan to hold an adoption drive at the park. An idea Leslie wonderfully described as "The coolest thing since *NSYNC, Aerosmith, and Nelly performed together at the Super Bowl halftime show." While April's plan was arguably a little bit cooler than that, they wound up leaving with more animals than they arrived with, crushing her spirit and reinforcing that hard work doesn't actually pay off. And much like Ron playing spiritual guru to Chris (let's all let that sentence sink in), Tom stepped up and played moral compass and cheerleader to a disappointed April. (Hey, thanks for taking our advice, you guys! Now please just break Tom and Ann up.) "Live Ammo" may not have been the laugh-out-loud episode Parks and Rec fans had been waiting for during the Lil' Sebastian-sized hiatus, but it was an important one. There were subtle, but tremendous shifts with characters and the roles they'll play for the rest of the season, if not the series. (April could, against all odds, become a force in local politics and Chris could evolve from a one-note joke to a versatile, perhaps lovable character.) We're not just rooting for Leslie anymore in this campaign, we're rooting for everyone again.  NEXT: The night's best lines! The best lines and moments from last night's Parks and Recreation: --Leslie owns "sneak around" clothes. --Tom's "girl heaven" apartment includes cozy blankets, a fridge full of coconut water, and amenities galore. --A particularly saucy Leslie around the puppy-level cute Ben. ("I'm just really into you. Gimme a spin, baby.") --The visual of stern Ron standing behind a meditating Chris was total comedy bliss. --Tom's invention of the Beeryonce. That's just beer in a "sexy ass mug" --Tom's pronunciation of cashmere. ("Cashmuuuuuur." If he and New Girl's Schmidt ever were in the same room the Douchebag Space Time Contiuum would collapse in on itself.) --Ben's priceless, horrified reaction to a house full of animals. --Donna's made-up back stories for the animals, including Ray Charles' seeing eye dog and a cat that appeared in Boogie Nights. --Andy setting up cards in hopes that all the dogs would play poker. --Chris hoping to play Cranium while drinking whiskey and wheat grass shots with Ron. (Sorry, but does that sound fun to anyone else, too?) --Leslie thinking that being a nurse mostly consists of "shaving wieners and dodging knife attacks from meth heads." --"I will walk deeper into the belly of the beast if it means I'm able to further limit reckless government spending. I mean I have so many ideas. Some are simple, like take down traffic lights and eliminate the post office. The bigger ones will be tougher, like bring all this crumbling to the ground." — Ron's genius government platform --"I'm not sure I'm interested in that. No, I am sure I'm not interested in that."— Ron, on meditation --"I'm filling in for a person who smiles 90 percent of the day." — A distressed April, aka Lil' Sparkle --"It's crazy boring, it lasts forever and you're going to wish you were dead. Wanna borrow my yoga pants?!" — Ann, not quite selling the meditation sizzle to Ron --"I don't know what the hell these other crackpots were doing." — Ron, after he "didn't" meditate --"I just had five cats on me at once! Wanna come in here and try and break my record?" — Andy --"They should be rewarded for not being people. I hate people." — April, on animals (Did anyone else notice Andy in the back playing with a toy monkey?!) --"There's a hot, spinning cone of meat in that restaurant next door. I don't know what it is, but I'd like to eat the whole thing." — Ron. Be still my heart, Ron Swanson. What did you think of last night's episode? Were you disappointed in the levity of it or were you glad they moved the story along as much as they did? Will Leslie be able to take this campaign right out of Bobby Newport's entitled hands? Between this and Cabin in the Woods, is anyone having a better week than Bradley Whitford? And seriously though, Ron. Freakin'. Swanson. [Photo credit: NBC] Follow Aly on Twitter @AlySemigran More: Parks and Rec is Back! What We Hope to See Before the Season Finale Parks and Rec Recap: Ron Swanson Wrote This Episode! Parks and Rec Stars Film Three Finales