Monday, June 05, 2006

MAY is for CATCH-UP (and more wine tasting)


I was feeling spunky in May, so I decided to catch up my blog, and I got off to a good start, logging a bunch of months, and saving them as drafts, but then . . .

I went to New York to meet CH, who was on the lighting team for the 2006 Fox Upfronts. Upfronts are basically a big pitch show that all the broadcast networks put on for the ad men every year, to get them to buy ads on their old and new shows. I loved this show, because it was basically an hour of trailers and really implausible sales figures. The only thing killing the enjoyment were the ad execs. Dude, they don't laugh at anything. It was really kind of uncomfortable, like watching a funny and light-spectacular show in a crypt.

I actually felt sorry for the actors. You always hear that they "get trotted out" at these things, but seriously this is what they do. Towards the beginning of the show, all the FOX show stars walk out while being announced like show horses. They wave, and then they leave. Most of them don't even speak. And if they do speak, they're either a comedian or the star of a show that's doing exceedingly well. Here are shows that I'm looking forward to:

1. Til Death with Brad Garrett of Everybody Loves Raymond fame. The show also stars Eddie Kaye Thomas from the American Pie series and Off-Centre ,which I loved == (the tv show, not the movies. Brad Garrett did a few minutes of stand-up, and he was pretty funny. At one point he said, "I see Paula Abdul's here. It's nice to see they have a shuttle bus system at Bellvue." It was so mean, but really funny. Dude, even the ad execs laughed.

2. Standoff with Office Space's Ron Livingston and Serenity's Gina Torres as hostage negotiators. Dude, who cares if it's based on a great premise and looks to be really well-written? They had me at the cast.

Here's what I'm not looking forward to:

The Winner, a super high-concept television show with Rob Corddry as a o.c.d. loser that lives at home with his parents in 1994, but has somehow become a huge success now. This is the story of how he gets there. This series is executive produced by Seth McFarlane of Family Guy fame. However, I'm not a huge Rob Corddry fan, and I'm still not after seeing this promo. His schtick still bugs me and I didn't laugh once. But maybe it will better as an actually TV Show. We'll see...

Two weeks after New York, we went to San Francisco for Memorial Day. It was cold, but lots of fun. I discovered that I still had enough of my college Chinese left to order meals, ask for chopsticks, and inquire whether or not a store carried baijiu -- a paint-peeling clear liquor that the Chinese drink.

Also, I was able to visit with Ben Jordan, a fellow playwright and programmate from my CMU days. He's a wine buyer now, and suggested a list of places for us to go during our day trip to Napa Valley. For those of you who like tasting rooms that don't look like every other tasting room on the planet. Here are his suggestions (I'm quoting from his email):

Let's see, Napa. Most of the places [have] huge, gaudy tasting rooms and they charge $10 or more for a tasting. Be prepared. I recommend sharing at the more expensive places. Here are some good places that can be fun: Robert Sinskey, Duckhorn (you sit down at a table for this tasting), Grgich, V. Sattui (the wines aren't great, but they have a picnic area that every goes to and gets drunk at), Corison (You must call to make an appointment for this place. Do it, it is worth it. Best wine you'll taste all day.) I always liked Heitz Cellars as well. They are pretty old school and some of their tasting is free, I think. If you want to see a big operation make an appointment at Cakebread.
We went to most of the places on this list, and we LOVED Corison. The atmosphere is incredibly intimate and the wine is quietly superior.

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