Mike Doria | Blah Blah Blog & Mike Check
REVIEW: JONI & GINA’S WEDDING
Joni and Gina’s wedding is proof that even the gays can’t pull off the extravaganza of holy matrimony without a hitch. In fact, all of the cringe-worthy antics often displayed by family members at weddings is only exacerbated in this must-see, highly hilarious play in Las Vegas. Upon arrival, you actually almost feel like you’re at a real wedding and may have mis-read that it’s a play. Once checked-in, guests are seated at various tables bearing the names of notable lesbians including Jodi Foster, Wanda Sykes and Virginia Woolf. Even more apropos — KD Lang is playing over the PA system.
Actors playing various family members of both brides begin to shuffle in giving you a glimpse and foreshadow of
the crazy that’s about to occur. After you meet Gina’s pill-popping mother, Marine Corp father and muscular brother (surely meant for the gay males of the crowd) — Joni’s uber Jewish mother and sister start making their rounds. You meet Joni’s car-salesman father and his Latina girlfriend (who doesn’t have much voice until her unforgettable wedding speech at the reception). Inside the Synagogue — to which guests are escorted by foot around the corner — it is non-stop laughter. I won’t even tell you the name of the spiritual minster presiding over the wedding because it’s part of the comical charm of this play. All I’ll say is her introduction — which requires a smoke machine — will have you shaking with laughter while completely appreciating the genius writers who penned this play. Joni’s best man — who couldn’t be more perfect for the part — doubles as the wedding planner. And, Gina’s grudge-bearing ex-girlfriend who is cast as her bridesmaid is great at getting on Joni’s nerves.
Tala Marie plays Joni and pulls off the believable tom-boy persona given her regular gig as a sexy dancer in Matt Goss’ show over at Caesar’s Palace. I’ve known Tala for years and this lady is an A-grade actress on all accounts. April Needham plays Gina — the “lipstick lesbian” in the relationship — and is adorable from start to finish.
From the Chapel you head back over to Ron DeCar’s Event Center where the play both begins and ends. The unique venue– impeccably restored, I might add — also provides a pleasant backdrop for a real wedding or any other event for a small gathering. The ticket prices for Joni & Gina’s Wedding both include a buffet-style dinner, champagne toast and wedding cake. Even better — locals get $10 off. Just be prepared because you’re served a lot of hilarity as individual family members make their way to the microphone to give some interesting speeches. Joni’s sister “Rivka”delivers one of the best as it’s full of some excellent Jewish gibberish. During these speeches, Gina’s mother blurts out some fantastic one-liners while Joni’s dysfunctionally divorced parents — Ida and Larry — go back and forth in a comical cat-fight. And, Gina’s dad — who purposely nervously gives his speech — finally comes to grips with the fact that his daughter is a lesbian.
Following some dancing and a strip tease from Gina’s brother, you still leave the wedding still feeling all lovey-dovey despite the dysfunction. And considering you’re getting both dinner and entertainment — you really can’t beat the ticket prices which are $59.95 and $79.95 depending on where you prefer to be seated. But get your tickets soon as this play only runs through the end of December!
WEEZER INTERVIEW | I HEART RADIO | 2014
If you’re expecting Weezer to shy away from quirky on their new album due out on October 7th and titled “Everything Will Be Alright in the End,” think again. I mean — isn’t that why we love Weezer in the first place? While sitting in the press room (front row center I might add) and having gotten sick three times earlier in the day; I was delighted when it was announced Weezer would be stopping in for some questions. It’s not every day you get to meet one of your favorite bands and such an iconic one at that!
For two decades, this band has taken us on a colorful journey from the Blue album, to the Green to the Red and then some. If you’re wondering what the band is like in an interview situation — given the bizarre vernacular that exits their mouths on album — the best I can come up with is, uh…well, like you would expect Weezer to be in an interview. It’s completely awkward (mostly on the reporter’s part) — but there’s an abundance of genuineness from this band that puts a smile on your face.
Later, while watching their performance at I Heart Radio and hearing the classics such as “My Name is Jonas” and “Buddy Holly,” something magical happened. I realized everyone was cheering them on and knew all the words to all the songs. Sure, that’s what people do at concerts. But, most of this crowd wasn’t there to see Weezer specifically. Now, onto the interview with questions mixed in from other reporters.
OTHER REPORTER: What can you tell us about this new album?
WEEZER (Rivers): “It is everything we love about Weezer…dark, funny, complex, guitar solos, beautiful melodies, emotional, stomping drums…
WEEZER (Scott): “Distortion, feedback, progressive kind of music. Just like heart-wrenching solos..amazing.”
WEEZER (Rivers): “Alternative Rock”
OTHER REPORTER: Is that title sarcastic or sincere?
WEEZER (Rivers): “Well, I’m not going to make that decision for anyone. I like to leave it open to interpretation. That’s one of the things I liked about the phrase.”
MIKE DORIA : What advice would you give your younger self?
WEEZER (Rivers): “Be yourself. I think that’s something Weezer was always good at but still good advice I think.”
MIKE DORIA: Great band by the way — huge fan!
WEEZER (Rivers): Thanks.
OTHER REPORTER: You’re here side by side with bands like One Direction, 5 Seconds of Summer — what advice or industry insight do you have for some of these bands on the rise today?
WEEZER (Scott): Don’t break up. Don’t break up and don’t stop writing. And, stick together and do what you love.”
WEEZER (Rivers): “Yeah, I think that’s really good advice. It’s easy to start squabbling with band mates or whatever and take it all for granted and before you know it, it’s all over. There’s real value in committing to each other and working through whatever problems have come up.”
OTHER REPORTER: How have you guys navigated those waters and stayed together so long?
WEEZER (Scott): “We did all those things I just mentioned. Yeah, we’ve had some exciting moments and every time we get closer and closer the music just keeps getting better and better. And, since I’ve been in the band, there’s hasn’t been a time where we all haven’t been having this much fun and had this kind of camaraderie. Rehearsing backstage…working on the new songs for the new record as we’re getting ready to go out on tour and some cities to play our new album. And it’s working hard and helping each other and being encouraging. There’s always a little bit of competition going on. There’s a perfect mix of keeping it spicy and keeping people on their toes.
MIKE DORIA: You guys don’t have a song I don’t like — which is a great talent for a band to do and continue to put out record after record after record with great songs. What is your one favorite song — if you have one — and one song that you don’t actually like?
WEEZER (Rivers): “Hmmm. I think we’re so jazzed about the new album. I think I’d have to vote for the Futurescope Trilogy which is a three part epic ending to the album. A lot of it is instrumental and we all get to shred. In fact, Scott had to have a special guitar built for him — it’s one part bass and one part guitar so at one point there’s five of us playing guitar solos at once. So, that’s my favorite.”
WEEZER (Scott): I’m a big fan of that too. And, then this song “Cleopatra” is really cool. It’s kind of like everything I love about Weezer and a little package around it.”
WEEZER (Rivers): “Yeah, it’s really cool to see that it’s on the Spotify viral 50 playlist right now — because it’s one of the most shared songs and the record isn’t out and it’s not a single or anything, but our fans are just going crazy. And they really love it and they’re sharing it with everyone.”
MIKE DORIA: Looking forward!
WEEZER (Scott): “Yeah, me too!”
OTHER REPORTER: You guys are playing at I Heart Radio – -curious to know your thoughts on the state of radio right now — better, worse or the same?
WEEZER (Scott): “I’ve been listening to more K-ROC lately and I’m kind of digging it. I got into satellite radio for a while and I’ve been listening to more K-ROC and I’m still getting turned on to a lot of new music.”
WEEZER (Rivers): “I think alternative rock is super interesting right now. It’s way different than when we started. And, luckily we don’t have to choose. I still love 90’s rock. There’s just amazing bands that we came up with that I love to listen to. But what they’re playing right now on alternative is different and super interesting.”
God Give Me Strengths
I would have to assume that on any given day, someone is praying to God asking for strength. And, if I know God (and, I do. We’re pretty tight, though not to the point where we’re braiding each other’s hair on a Friday sleepover just yet) then he answers in a very particular way for a very particular reason. Upon waking up yesterday morning, I remembered that I still needed to take my “strength finder” test as required by my company; Monster Products.
The timing around this was perfect in the sense that I’d been praying daily that God give me strength(s) around this new job. Monster is a wonderful company. But, it also has challenges. What company doesn’t? The only rule I’d placed on myself upon acceptance of the position and offer was — and still is — no quitting or resigning. And, truthfully — there is really no need to greet that situation. I now know my strengths. And, my top five strengths are essentially a blueprint for continued success. So, 177 questions later and 35 minutes total spent online — I was spit back this list, in this order. My top tier strengths are:
Strategic wasn’t a surprise. And, what I didn’t know about being “strategic” from my time spent in the news industry, my boss at The Mob Museum — Ceres Hill — taught me as I transitioned into PR & Marketing. Connectedness brought a slight “hmmm” reaction. But only in the sense that if I had taken this test a year ago, it would not be on the list. The book I wrote titled “It’s a Sign, Stupid!” brought out the connectivity I have with the Universe, God and people that I didn’t know I had prior. In my opinion — being connected means being vested. And that means having an important role and stake in the game. It’s teamwork and it’s about everyone winning. After leaving the news business back in 2009, I became obsessed with knowledge. So, Learner making the list was expected. And, at Monster — another of our mottos is “Ask the Right Questions.” In doing so, we learn to get accurate information and approach situations from the right angle. Futuristic was a bit of a shock. I’m very nostalgic. I’m the guy who wants to things back to when times were good, etc. But wrapping my head around that a bit further — I realize that being futuristic is about getting to the good times again by learning from the past. And, finally, I feel like everyone always tells me that I never stop and that I manage to get where I want to go fairly easily. Well, I do — but it’s not always done “easily.” My mentor and college Journalism Professor Virginia Bacheler made me the Achiever I’ve become. And that only happened after I stopped subscribing to the notion that I wasn’t good enough or as good as anyone else. The truth is — we are all achievers. Some just learn it sooner; and some later.
My business cards also arrived today. As I pulled one out of the box to take a look, I said to myself “one day I’ll actually earn the title that’s on the card.” Later, I publicly shared that sentiment on Facebook. And, I’m certain that I will earn that title eventually because my boss is a smart guy who knows what he’s doing. In fact, in the five years that I’ve been out of the news business, Monster Products is the only company that got me to approach my job from a TV News Reporter perspective. Take a look at the video below that I shot with my iphone and edited in imovie.
Lastly — I would encourage anyone to take the strength finder test put out by Gallup. It costs $10. But the take away is prices. There’s another reason why Monster has us do this and include it in the signature line of our email. The higher ups know exactly who to tap when they need people with a certain strength to help on a project or particular challenge at hand.
Just when I thought life couldn’t possible give me another “I didn’t see this coming” moment, there I was living with a family that included two children under the age of five. The good news: Every story told and pictured painted about the joys and jinx of having kids is pretty accurate. There was little that came as a surprise per say. The bad news: None! Kids are awesome — most of the time. That said; I’m sure there are some people ready to call me out in contradiction. I didn’t always speak so highly of children. So why the 180?
Don’t get me wrong — I never “disliked” children. After all, I am an uncle with a gaggle of nieces and nephews. Hopefully I’m not forgetting one from the list below!
Jamie & her husband Johnny
- Kyleigh & Chelsea
- Colt & Mirasol (twins, my great niece and nephew)
Living with two children, however, had me a bit concerned for a variety of reason. First, my potty mouth. Secondly, my infrequent interaction with children and the worry that I wouldn’t know how to connect on their level. I moved in with the Tinch family while transitioning from one house to another. My friendship with LeAnn Tinch dates back further than anyone else in Las Vegas. She’s my go-to date for new show openings on the Strip. Also, every Thanksgiving, she and her husband Eric offer me a spot at the dinner. I always oblige. When their son River arrived, I was among the first to hold the little guy in the hospital. But, I had yet to meet the newest addition to the family. The beautiful little girl you see to the right. Her name is Lilah. The minute I walked through the door to begin my month-long stay — the magic began. So too did the chores.
Yes — I earned my keep whether it be cleaning the kitchen, washing dishes, setting the dinner table, helping to cook on occasion, feeding the dogs and even babysitting twice. Despite this being temporary — there was a bigger take-away. A greater discovery to be made. And, it’s one in which I was left surprised. I came to realize that I think I want kids one day. Or, I should say rather that I’ll open up the door for the possibility and at least meet the potential opportunity half-way. We’ll let God decide.
I’m quite honestly not sure why I was nervous to be around kids. I’m a Pisces. I operate like a kid with regard to creativity and imagination. This came in handy as I pulled Lilah around on a blanket serving as a magic carpet while I sang “A Whole New World” to her.
River, who is also a Pisces, reminded me of myself when I was his age. He is extremely inquisitive and loving. He is also very free with his mouth which lands him in trouble no less than five times a day. He wouldn’t call me Mike. He instead opted to use both my first and last name when addressing me. In this experience, Eric taught me how to frame up a screen play. It is next on my list of writing endeavors. And LeAnn and I only made a friendship stronger and learned that we would be a dynamite PR/Marketing team together.
Just prior to my move out day, I was at the splash pad cutting string and measuring for the decorations that will go up at Lilah’s first birthday party this month. The theme is Pinwheels. For you Gen Xer’s, you may remember the show Pinwheel on Nickelodeon growing up. If not, I included a clip at the bottom. I moved out of parents house when I was 18. Though I firmly believe that families come in all shapes and size, it’s been decades since I experience that traditional setting of a husband, wife and kids under one roof. It was a blast. Life is a circle. The family is a circle. And, families truly work together from what I saw. It gives me hope. And it’s an important lesson I wasn’t to forget.
As I began to move into my new place, the tree near the driveways was adorned with a giant bee hive. I’m super allergic to bees — but not the message and spiritual meaning of the bee or what the hive was suggesting. Bees work together. They’re symbolic of the family unit. They help each other out. They stay busy building and keeping that family unit going. And in my life, I learned hierarchy of importance. God comes first, Family comes second, Mankind comes third. At least that’s how I see the ranking.
To LeAnn, Eric, River & Lilah: I had an incredible month. Thank you for being some of the most wonderful people a guy could ever have in his life and thank you for letting me stay with you. You’re the best.
IAN ZIERING BACK WITH CHIPPENDALES
Ian Ziering is more than just muscle. He’s quickly becoming a powerhouse actor and household name once again since his days as Steve Sanders on Beverly Hills 90210. His recent role in Sharknado wasn’t necessarily expected to whirlwind his career. Social media helped with that attack. Now, with Sharknado 2 already shot — Ziering returns to the Chippendales stage to show off his pecs and charm. This is one actor a reporter doesn’t mind interviewing. He’s likeable, humble and an all-around good guy.
Mike: You know — looking at you wearing that leather jacket, you sort of remind me of Knight Rider. I could totally see you in that role in a new movie.
Ian: You know, now that you mention it; Michael Knight did wear a similar leather jacket.
Mike: He didn’t have his shirt off underneath — nor did he have blond hair but I really think you could pull off this role.
Ian: I’m sure the Hoff would allow me to play this!
Mike: I’ll work on it. We need to keep you going — and speaking of keeping things going; you’re back with Chippendales a second time. How does it feel and is it different this time?
Ian: You know, I’m so flattered to be around this dance troop that’s been around for 35 years. And, to be playing a part that’s lasted two years now is really a feather in my cap. It’s a great bunch of guys here at the Rio. Everyone treats me so well. They’re so nice and friendly. And, I never look to be treated like a star but they go out of their way to make me feel special. But as I look around — they do that with everybody so it’s nice to be immersed in that. And, being here in Vegas again, as part of the entertainment versus being here for part of the fun is a completely different perspective. I get to know the locals and that’s not something you get to do when you come to Vegas. You come here for a few days or a week but now I’m here and I have friends that work in the bar or the restaurants and they’re just nice people.
Mike: How many times do you hear Oh My God it’s Steve Sanders?
Ian: For the most part, people know my name. But, it’s still flattering when people call me Steve.
My friend LeAnn: Do you still turn around when people call you that?
Ian: Sure. You know, I’ll turn around. They’re talking to me so I’m not going to ignore them. It’s very flattering.
Mike: They probably still think you’re in that character — still Steve but you’re way different than him. You’re like him in some ways but you’re honestly a good guy.
Ian: Yeah. He had a big story line. My life is now trapped in celluloid and his life experiences were contained and mine keep expanding. I’m working on a globally successful movie — you know, these were things that I never dreamed of. Though I may have fantasized as a child about being a Chippendale, I didn’t imagine I’d be doing this in Vegas.
Mike: You started on Broadway at the age of 11 — right?
Ian: Yes. I was very young doing Broadway but I also toured doing Peter Pan.
Mike: It’s amazing that you can do movies, Broadway and TV — you can do it all.
Ian: Well, that’s one of the great things about being an actor — there’s so many great mediums. When I was a young boy, my mom was sure to make me a triple threat — that I could sing, dance and act. The competition is fierce and if you’re lucky enough to get an audition, you be prepared. And that’s where you can find success.
Mike: Not to turn this somber but when we talked last year — you actually really helped me when you said find your ‘why’ in life. Father’s day recently — you lost your mom and dad not too long ago and now you’re a dad. How do you take that all in?
Ian: You know — I shed a few tears the other day. Every time I leave the house to go work, my daughter Mia cries and tells me don’t leave me dad. It’s part of the sacrifice you make as a parent and it’s nothing I ever recognized as a kids — dads just work. But it’s truly a sacrifice. My wife and two daughters are here.
Mike: For the whole duration or just for a few days?
Ian: For the next few weeks. And, there’s no better way to honor my father than to teach my kids what he taught me.
Mike: When you look at Sharknado and the attention the first one got, do you get nervous with the second one and how that will fare?
Ian: You know, the second script read like a $100 million dollar blockbuster. When I finished it — I could believe…I wondered how they hell they were going to shoot this. And I remembered the same thing after I read the first one — and Thunder Levin, the Writer and Anthony C. Ferrante, the Director — two very imaginative and creative gentlemen have a way of making magic. So, I have a lot of trust in them where I had trepidation last time. And, I think is going to be an even — well — just as good as the first or even better.
Mike: You can bet a lot of people will be watching.
Ian: Oh yeah. It’s huge. It’s a great movie. They’ve already picked up a third. I went to talk to a fortune-teller in NYC. It was late night — one of those buzzing neon signs. You know, get your fortune read for $10. So I went in there and I said ‘Sharknado — how many movies are we going to do?’ She said.. oh, I see three maybe four. Maybe even turn this into a series. So, I said — well, how many of these am I going to be in. She said – that’ll be another $10.
Ian Ziering’s second stint with Chippendales runs until July 20th. And don’t be surprised if you see him pop up in another show on the strip. Recently, he joined Olivia Newton-John during her show “Summer Nights”at Flamingo to sing the male part of none other than “Summer Nights”with her on stage. Tell me he doesn’t look like the new Knight Rider?
Go Baby Daddy Website Funding
Help me build this site that will give dads everywhere information, resources, guidance and encouragement as they raise their kids. It’s time we support dads as they too have an important job and role in their children’s lives.
SELFIE EXPOSED | BLAH, BLAH BLOG!
A few weeks ago while on the red carpet at the Billboard Music Awards, I got word that Natasha Bedingfield was making her way down. My internal reaction was “oh.” It was one of those “oh’s” that was sort of right in the middle. It wasn’t a negative reaction, it wasn’t positive. I’ve interviewed her before. She just wasn’t all that exciting the first time. But, I’m not one to quickly write someone off — especially with only one encounter under my belt.
As Natasha passed by me, I yelled out her name. I was quickly met with — “I gotta get inside.” Not one to necessarily take “no” for an answer — I fired back with “It’s just one fun question.” She approached. I didn’t make small talk — I went right in with the question. “What’s the secret to the perfect selfie?”
I felt like this whole infatuation with the “selfie” had become over-exposed. And, from a one dimensional point of view, it seemed a little narcissistic and done only for one to be selfie exposed. Just another oddity in pop culture. But, then I changed my lens — my view of it. The question I asked her wasn’t one of my own. It sits on a list of general questions that Us Weekly Magazine provides for an ongoing segment in the magazine. This list is a goldmine of questions for answers that the make tabloid magazines mega-bucks. And the list is just that; if you only look at those questions from one angle.
Natasha’s response to that question was simple. She told me — reach your arms up and angle it (smart phone) into the light. Once again, I thought “oh.” The answer was fine. It wasn’t anything brilliant. Well; actually it was. And this fool picked up on it several weeks later. That question and answer had nothing to do with a “selfie” in the picture form. It has to do with the actual person. The “self.”
My roommate — who finds opportunity for selfie everywhere — could probably have three picture books full of them by now.
In fact, one day when the toner in the printer at his workplace ran out; the company that provides it told him to send a photo of it. It was a selfie of Brian holding the toner. Anyway, he told me recently that I just don’t seem as happy as I once did. In fact, I’d been hearing it from a few people lately. It’s not that I’m unhappy. It’s just the aggravations of life seem to become the bigger, more noticeable picture. The happier self ends up still sitting in the dark room. You liking all the photo metaphors?
Natasha’s response now clicks. Perhaps if I just reach my arms up — realize I can’t control everything and angle myself into the light — that’s the better “selfie.” I’m not sure there is a “perfect” one; if you know what I mean. I do agree that we as human beings do need to be self-centered every now and again — just not for the selfish reason in which “self-centered” is associated. If we are going to shine to the world, offer up our talents and inspire others — we have to look within ourselves from time to time to make sure we’re getting better and stronger. Think of it as a self-induced check up — like the one you get from your doctor to make sure all is good within.
Take enough “selfies” and a few things start to become clearer. In looking at what’s behind you in the picture — you may need to change your background or start enjoying it more. Are you smiling in the “selfie?” If not- START! You see where I’m going with this. Snap enough “selfies” and sooner or later the people around you will start seeing you in that light that Natasha spoke of. Undoubtedly, so will you.
Let’s face it — pictures are still worth a thousand words. And when it comes to the “selfie;” it’s the the positive responses that help make us a bit more picture perfect to the rest of the world. Look for Natasha Bedingfield’s new album titled “The Next Chapter” due out soon. For now, listen to her song “Who Am I” featured in the Disney movie “The Pirate Fairy.” “Oh,” and for the record — I think Natasha is brilliant and will gladly interview her anytime!