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Karen Salkin Out to Lunch

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AMERICAN IDOL

I demand a re-count. Melinda Doolittle not making it into the final two on American Idol is almost as bad as Bush being voted President of the United States. Twice. Who are these idiotic people who voted? And what’s wrong with them? In both cases.

I’m too depressed to even write about it in detail. Mr. X is so disgusted that he says he’ll never watch it again. But it’s not the show’s fault, as the judges don’t vote. Most people I’ve talked to all season recognize that Melinda is head and shoulders above the competition this year and, actually, most everyone in the six-year history of the show. But they’re all the kind of television viewers who watch, don’t vote, get pissed-off temporarily, and move on.

I, on the other hand, vote multiple times and get upset and sad forever. I hate injustice, of any kind. (Don’t get me started on the bogus suspensions of the two Phoenix Suns starters after the Spurs thug, Robert Horry, hard-fouled Suns star, Steve Nash. That sends the message that if your team is in trouble, send a low man to take out the opponent’s high man and it’s okay.)

Back to Idol. Jordin is a pretty girl, and she sings well enough, some of the time. But she shouldn’t have made it this far. It’s reminiscent of Season 3 where Diana DiGarmo made it to second place while Jennifer Hudson was sent packing in the seventh spot. So, hopefully, careers will even it out for Melinda in the long run. (Or, as is the case in the music biz these days, shorter than that.)

And, if there’s an ounce of decency left in those of you who watch, please pick up your phones next week, and flood the voting for the infinitely entertaining and original Blake Lewis and let Season 6 regain a modicum of respect.



CHAMPIONS ON ICE

My favorite entertainment of the year is coming to Los Angeles this Memorial Day week-end. It’s Champions On Ice, the original ice show to feature all the skaters we’ve followed in recent years. I’m lucky enough to have seen this tour in New York last month, and it’s as fabulous as ever.

I brought along my friend, Lauren, and her husband and teen-age son. They were all the happiest to see Sasha Cohen, who’s even more amazing in person. They all are! If you’ve seen these unbelievable athletes only on TV, you can’t imagine what it’s like to experience them up-close and personal.

My faves are always the men. American Johnny Weir’s skating is breathtaking. He’s my favorite regular cast member. (There was one special guest star in the NY show who trumped all the regulars for me. More on that later.) In the second half, Johnny does a number with U.S. silver medalists in Ice Dance, Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukhov, that is one of the highlights of the show. Olympic champ Evgeni Plushenko is the most powerful force on skates. And watching 37-year-old 1992 Olympic Champion Victor Petrenko, who’s celebrating his record twentieth season with the show, do a routine with his nine-year-old daughter, Viktoria, who’s an exquisite skater herself, just puts a huge smile on your face.

Champions cast is made up of just that--mainly Olympic and World champions, with some National and Professional ones, as well. (For a complete list of skaters, go to their website below.) Now here’s my NY surprise:

The announcer was saying that the next couple had been five-time United States Dance Champions. Just when I was thinking that we’d already seen the current ones, he said the names of a duo who weren’t listed in the cast. It was my favorite skater of all time, Peter Tchernychev and his partner, Naomi Lang. I screamed so loud that the Collins brothers, who run the show, said they could hear me backstage. And I have a feeling they’re not just joking.
Karen and Peter Tchernychev

Karen and Ice Dancer, Peter Tchernychev. 
She's in shock because Peter has his arm around her!

Not only is Peter probably the most gorgeous male I have ever seen in my life (this picture, and every other one I’ve seen of him, doesn’t come close to doing him justice), but his skating is mesmerizing. I don’t breath the whole time he’s on the ice. Many commentators I’ve listened to over the years say he’s the greatest male ice dancer of all time. I can only compare it to seeing Baryshnikov perform ballet.

And, to make matters worse for womankind (and their boyfriends), he pays close attention when he talks to you and looks at you so intently with those gorgeous greenish-yellow eyes, that you can’t help but believe he’s in love with you, (which, of course, he can’t be with everyone, so maybe just me.) What a man!

I’m sure he doesn’t remember this, but I interviewed him in the Press Room at the 2002 nationals that were held here in Los Angeles, at the Staples Center. My perspicacious question to him was, “Could you be any more gorgeous???” To which he answered, with a totally straight and apologetic face, “I’ll try.” So, he’s subtly humorous, too.

But enough about Peter because I don’t believe he’ll be appearing in LA., although you never know who’ll pop-up in each city, which is one of the beauties of Champions On Ice. So, I’ll just have to console myself with the also adorable and sexy Olympic Dance Champ from France, Gwendal Peizerat, whom I’ve also been known to stalk. And when you see him in this year’s show wearing just an open vest and no shirt, you’ll understand why. (Look for my Champions story from last year, listed in my archives as being on Nov. 28, though it’s from last August, for a picture of him.)

And for you folks who don’t really need to get into the personal lives of the cast and just want to see great skating, that’s all here, too. And the specialty acts, chronicled in my preview of the show (archived on April 2 under the heading of Recent Events), are even better than past years.

This show is so good that I’m going to try to see it on both SoCal dates. Unless they procure a restraining order against me beforehand, that is. Hope to see you there.

Champions On Ice
Honda Center Anaheim May 26, 2007 3PM
Staples Center Los Angeles May 27, 2007 3PM
www.championsonice.com


THE CONSTANT WIFE

And lastly, since I first moved to Los Angeles as a teen-ager, I’ve always felt that there was something grown-up and mysterious about the Pasadena Playhouse. So, though it’s far away from my home base here on the west side, I try not to pass up any opportunity to take in a show there. I feel like I’m a kid on an out-of- town trip. And I’m usually rewarded for my trouble with at least a pretty good show.

This time, I got really lucky. I loved The Constant Wife, and still can’t believe it was written by W. Somerset Maugham, who’s usually painful stories (Of Human Bondage, Rain, Painted Veil, Razor’s Edge) I’m not a fan of. This one was, in the old-fashioned vernacular of the play, delightful.

It’s an English comedy circa 1920 about the wife of a surgeon who’s having an affair with her best friend. It’s unusually modern for having been written so long ago. If I hadn’t known better, I would have thought it was written recently and just set way back in the day.

The Constant Wife
"The Constant Wife" at Pasadena Playhouse
The dialogue is clever and the performances mainly perfect. There are two (Ann Marie Lee as Barbara and Kaleo Griffith as Bernard) that are weak, but they’re pulled along by the rest of the cast, so it’s not egregious. The lead, Megan Gallagher, is the stand-out.

As usual with the Pasadena, the set was stunning. It was done in mainly whites and creams, a style of interior decorating made famous in the twenties by the author’s wife, Syrie, with accents of aquamarine, and made my mouth water as soon as I entered the auditorium.

The costumes either blended with, or complemented, the set and each character had their own subtle color to help distinguish the his or her personality. This was one of the few productions I’ve ever seen that seemed to recognize the importance of the use of color to enhance the scenario.

The only lackluster part of the evening was the food that was served at the after-party at the close-by Holly’s Bar and Grill. It was so bad that I had to leave right away to get home and brush my teeth! At least I saved a few calories by missing the dessert, if there even was any.


The Constant Wife running through June 10, 2007
Pasadena Playhouse 39 S. El Molina Ave. Pasadena 626-356-7529

www.pasadenaplayhouse.org

1 PIXEL LIGHT GRAY
Missed one of Karen Salkin's previous restaurant reviews?
 
Out To Lunch Dec. 28 -
Karen's year-end wrapup
 
Out To Lunch Dec. 19 -
Karen reviews Chakra
 
Out To Lunch Nov. 28-
Karen reviews "Jersey Boys" at The House of Blues & Frankie Valli
 
Out To Lunch Nov. 28-
Karen reviews Tesoro Trattoria
 
Out To Lunch Oct. 27-
Karen reviews Deli Boys
 
Out To Lunch Oct. 27-
Karen reviews Chakra
 
Out To Lunch Oct. 16-
Karen reviews Cinespace
 
Out To Lunch Oct. 6-
Karen reviews Aphrodisiac
 
Out To Lunch Sept. 26-
Karen reviews Ugo and Patina Catering
 
Out To Lunch Sept. 14-
Karen's Food Court Guide
 
Out To Lunch Aug 29-
Locanda Del Lago review
 
Out To Lunch Aug 17-
Karen reviews CUBE on La Brea
 
Out To Lunch Aug 9-
Karen unveils her quick breakfast, lunch and Chinese menu favorites and visits Nathan's
 
Out To Lunch July 31-
Karen does a NY restaurant run-through extending from Manhattan and Brooklyn
 
Out To Lunch July 20-
Karen talks about The Greatest Show On Earth
 
Out To Lunch July 13-
Karen's Dark Secret
(okay, one of them) and reviews
Osteria Latinia
 
Out To Lunch July 6-
Library Tea Asia de Cub
 
Out To Lunch June 29-
Sterling’s
Upstairs at Vitello’s,
Jurlique Day Spa,
"Back On Broadway"
 
Out To Lunch June 20-
Organic To Go, Cafe 50's
 
Out To Lunch June 13-
Karen reviews Mr. Chow's
 
Out To Lunch June 6-
Karen reviews Amici
 
Missed one of Karen Salkin's entertainment and theater reviews?
 
Read Karen's theater review of Edward Scissorhands, Plaid Tidings and quick movie notes
 
Karen reviews Champions On Ice
 
Karen comments on Andre Agassi
 
Karen reviews the annual Emmy Suites
 
Karen reviews "Curtains" and Burton Morris
 
Karen reviews "Water and Power" and "Hayfever"
 
Karen reviews "Much Adoobie About Nothing"
 
Karen reviews "So You Think You Can Dance?" and "Beehive"
 
Karen reviews "Doubt?" and "Fat Of The Land "
 
Karen reviews "Sweet Charity" and the "Marvelous Wonderettes"
 
Karen reviews "Nightingale" and "Souvenir"
 
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