Archive for May, 2010

Actor Jon Seda, A Jersey Guy, Tells Us Why He Had To Play World War II Hero John Basilone In ‘The Pacific’

May 31, 2010

Clifton native Jon Seda as World War II hero John Basilone in The Pacific

It’s fitting that the profile we’ve been working to do since March, on actor Jon Seda, was posted today, Memorial Day, on NewJerseyNewsroom.com.

It was in March that we first made our request to HBO to talk to Seda, who portrayed World War II hero John Basilone in HBO’s miniseries “The Pacific.” In fact, we made the request before the episodes starting running. But Seda was busy working on a pilot, and then one scheduled interview got cancelled when one of Seda’s family members got sick. We finally spoke to him May 13.

Anyone who reads this blog knows that it’s not just about home shopping. It’s about our passions, which include TV programming and, God help us, New Jersey. And both Basilone, who won the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroics on Guadalcanal, and Seda are from New Jersey. Basilone hailed from Raritan, while Seda is from Clifton. Seda is also of Puerto Rican descent, like us. So we just had to write that story.

When we asked HBO’s public relations exec to tell Seda to expect questions about Jersey, she said that wouldn’t be a problem, that he loves talking about his home state. And she was dead right.

Seda, whose work we’ve enjoyed in shows like “Homicide: Life On The Street,” called from LA. He was down to earth, warm, and was in fact an enthusiastic fan of NJ. He even married a Jersey girl, someone from Passaic.

Seda riding in last year's Basilone memorial parade in Raritan

We were especially interested in Seda because of his Clifton connection. Right out of Medill at Northwestern, our first job was at The Herald-News in Passaic. As it turns out, Seda told us he grew up right by The Herald-News building, a place we spent many hours in — and that his first job was as a delivery boy for the paper.

The Cloud 9 bar right next to The Herald was the paper’s hangout, and we spent many an evening there doing shots of tequila and closing the place down.

Seda’s favorite spot to eat in Clifton was The Hot Grille, a greasy spoon on Lexington Avenue that we’ve been to.

We also learned that up until a few years ago, Seda lived in the town we reside in now, Montclair. He said he loved it there, but that he had to move his family to LA for his career.

Seda said he felt a special affinity with Basilone. They were both from Jersey, and they were both boxers. Seda was good, training in the gym of comedian Lou Costello in Paterson, N.J., and of veteran boxing trainer Dominick Bufano in Jersey City. But his mom convinced to take acting lessons, and Seda’s teacher told him he had real talent.

The rest is history.

Basilone is a legendary figure for his part in repelling — with just a handful of men and several heavy machine guns — a wave of literally hundreds, if not 1,000, Japanese soldiers on Guadalcanal in 1942. He won the Congressional Medal for that, and was then called stateside to tour and sell war bonds.

Seda with actress Annie Parisse, who played Basilone's wife Lena in The Pacific

But Basilone wasn’t content to stay safe at home. Congressional Medal of Honor winners don’t go back to combat. But Basilone wanted to be back with his fellow Marines in the Pacific arena. He was killed during the Marine invasion of Iwo Jima.

Some might call Basilone crazy for tempting fate and going back to the war, but Seda said he understood that. The actor still misses boxing, and could see how Basilone (who boxed while in the military) would want to go back.

“I look at it like a boxer, who just can’t leave the fight when they feel they still have that fight in them,” Seda told me.

Raritan hasn’t forgotten Basilone. Each September, it holds a Basilone memorial weekend, which includes a parade in his honor through town. Seda came to Raritan last September to attend the event, and met many of the town folk. They loved him.

So here’s to Basilone, and to all those who gave their lives for our country.

Guys, If Your Woman Wants To Give You A ‘Spanx,’ Don’t Get Too Excited

May 30, 2010

Spanx compression T-shirt for men

Spanx, said to be the secret why the stars look slim on the red carpet, has been a big product on QVC for years, before gaining national press for their use by celebs. Creator Sara Blakely was once practically a fixture on the home shopping channel.

In the past year or so we’ve seen Gwyneth Paltrow quoted about putting on not one, but two, pairs of the Spanx shapewear to look good after just having a baby. And Tyra Banks and Wanda Sykes now own up to wearing Spanx.

Well ladies, maybe someday you’ll be able to buy Spanx on QVC — for your husband or main squeeze.

The Style Section of The Sunday New York Times today reports that “foundation garments,” as a Neiman Marcus executive called them, for men are hot sellers. And Spanx was the first on the bandwagon with its Spanx for Men line, described by The Times as “a huge retail hit.”

The story on men’s shapewear is headlined “Just Don’t Call It A Corset.”

While Spanx for women started out as panties with legs that hold your tummy and butt in tight, it’s a different product for men.

Spanx is offering “compression” T-shirts and tank tops, to gird up men’s stomachs, for $58 and $55, respectively.

They are now being sold at not only Neiman but Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom.

Women, or men, if you want Spanx for Men to come to QVC, let the home shopping network know.

But remember, just as we women must, that once you take that garment off, everything falls back to its normal position.

The Times quoted one critic as tweeting, “Spanx for Men is all good, until you meet a chick. You gain 45 lbs when you get naked.”

Great kicker, and true.

Back On Home Shopping, Raquel Welch Is Bringing Her Wigs To QVC

May 28, 2010

Still-hot sexpot Raquel Welch is coming to QVC, with wigs.

We tuned in Thursday night on the tail end of host Shawn Killinger showing off three of Welch’s “Breeze” textured layered wigs.

Killinger was telling viewers, we guess, when the Welch wig show will debut. But we didn’t catch the date.

Welch is no stranger to home shopping. She briefly had a jewelry line on HSN, with pieces made of gemstones and silver. We still have a cross — which has peridot, citrine and smoky topaz on it — from that collection.

But the actress’s pieces were pricey, and the jewelry line didn’t last too long on HSN.

Is That ‘Tootsie,’ Or Designer George Simonton, On QVC Thursday Night?

May 28, 2010

QVC designer George Simonton looked just like Dustin Hoffman, as Tootsie, Thursday night

God will punish us for saying this, but designer George Simonton is a dead ringer for Dustin Hoffman — as the actor looked with wig and makeup in the movie “Tootsie” — on QVC tonight.

Tune in and see for yourself. Right or wrong, as we say in Jersey.

Simonton has a bouffant hairdo. We are not exaggerating.

The award-winning designer is a sweetie, and talented, so we hate to criticize his hairdo.

Doesn’t QVC have a stylist — hair and clothing — or anyone who makes sure that their vendors look good on national TV? Do the QVC hairdressers go home at 5?

Plus, Simonton is wearing white pants and a bright green windbreaker. You’re not on a yacht, George, It’s TV!

QVC’s Rick Domeier Heads To New York To Try To Land Book Deal

May 27, 2010

QVC Host Rick Domeier the author?

The Aryan-looking Capricorn is coming to the Big Apple to attend Book ExpoAmerica, an annual conference of publishers, agents, writers and booksellers.

“Proposals in hand, and meetings with publishers. Wish me luck!” Domeier wrote on Facebook Wednesday.

We wish you the best of luck Rick. But don’t give up your day job.

Domeier said he will be offering updates today from the show.

HSN Handbag Vendor Carlos Falchi Strikes Deal With Licensing King Steve Russo, Says New York Post

May 25, 2010

Carlos Falchi, a luxury handbag maker who also does several lines for HSN, is apparently partnering with a company that makes Hello Kitty and SpongeBob SquarePants merchandise, the New York Post reported Tuesday.

The story, headlined “SpongeBob HandBag: Accessory Firm Teams Up With Carlos Falchi,” says that Falchi has struck a licensing deal with “New York accessories kingpin” Steve Russo.

In its exclusive scoop, the tabloid reports that Russo has a five-year deal with Falchi that guarantees at least $120 million in retail sales.

Russo made his mark selling items ranging from backpacks to school supplies decorated with pop culture figures, from SpongeBob to Hello Kitty to Hannah Montana.

Falchi, in contrast, used to create leather wardrobes for people like Mick Jagger before he started his luxury handbag business, and then created a handbag and accessory line for HSN.

The Post said that Russo “has poured money” into Falchi’s factory in the Garment District.

Falchi’s company is owned by Wingsong Brands, which also has stakes in Ellen Tracy and Sharper Image, and an investor group headed by Marvin Traub, according to the Post.

HSN Host Colleen Lopez’s Home Remedy For Laryngitis

May 25, 2010

We saw HSN host Colleen Lopez coughing up a storm during one of her Designer Gallery shows last Saturday, one of our favorite segments on the network.

She was trying to be a trooper, telling viewers that she was at the tail end of a cold, and even though she sounded terrible, she felt pretty good.

Well, the next day poor Colleen lost her voice and had to call in sick.

On Facebook Monday, she offered up her home remedy for laryngitis, which is something we get fairly often.

3 Tbls. apple cyder vinegar
3 Tbls. honey
Squeeze of lemon
A few shakes of cayenne pepper

Put in a cup with hot water and sip.

“Might sound like a strange combo, but it really works – my voice is coming back and throat is a lot less sore….Try it next time you have a sore throat :-),” she wrote.

Thanks for the tip, Colleen!

Stop The Presses: You Can Say ‘Orgasm,’ As In NARS Cosmetics, On QVC Now

May 24, 2010

QVC has apparently lifted its ridiculous ban of the word “orgasm.”

Monday morning prim QVC host Jill Bauer used the naughty “O” word during a presentation on a three-piece collection of NARS Orgasm lip gloss and blush. Orgasm is a popular, pretty peach makeup shade by NARS.

But in the past, as recently as a week or so ago, QVC host Lisa Robertson was not allowed to say “Orgasm” when talking about the NARS cosmetics. Hello, it’s 2010, not 1950!

Today, however, Bauer started off the NARS presentation by saying, “We’re going to say a grown-up word here.”

She warned viewers to shoo any children out of the room.

Then she and the NARS rep discussed the Orgasm makeup.

“It’s a magical color,” Bauer said.

It sure is, Jill.

Diva Liza ‘With A Z’ Minnelli Is Coming To HSN With A Jewelry And Apparel Line

May 24, 2010

Liza Minnelli

Legend Liza Minnelli, fresh from a cameo appearance in “Sex and the City 2,” has joined the HSN family, as the home shopping network likes to say. She will debut The Liza Collection, jewelry and clothing, June 30.

The Liza Collection – exclusive to HSN – will consist of limited-edition apparel and jewelry inspired by Minnelli’s trademark look and recreated from her personal archives. Her appearance at HSN will kick off the network’s 33rd Birthday month in July.

“My life has provided me the ability to amass a wonderful wardrobe designed by fashion’s brightest stars,” Minnelli said in a canned statement. “I am excited to work with HSN in launching The Liza Collection and to have the opportunity to share my favorite looks with millions of women who want to look fabulous and feel their very best.”

The collection is a first for Minnelli within the fashion category, and will include some of her most recognized looks, including sequined separates and signature flowy pants. The jewelry is inspired from some of her own pieces pulled straight from her jewelry box including necklaces, bracelets, rings and earrings.

“We are honored to offer our customers this exclusive fashion collection from Liza Minnelli,” Lynne Ronon, HSN executive vice president of merchandising, said in a preparted statement. “Partnering with such a renowned star reinforces HSN’s unique ability to effortlessly bridge the worlds of fashion and entertainment. As one of the most celebrated entertainers today, I am confident Liza will connect directly with HSN customers in marrying her iconic style with their own.”

Minnelli, daughter of legend Judy Garland, is one of very few personalities to win entertainment’s top four awards – the Oscar, the Tony, the Emmy and the Grammy.

The Liza Collection will debut at 10 p.m. June 30, with prices ranging from $29.90 for a charmeuse scarf to $129.90 for a sequined boyfriend blazer and for jewelry from $39.95 for silver-tone triple heart pave drop earrings to $79.95 for a silver-tone pave rose bangle.

QVC To Roll Out Enhanced iPhone, Android and Blackberry Applications

May 23, 2010

Catching up on last week’s news again, this time with QVC’s announcement that plan to launch apps for Android and BlackBerry smartphones, as well as unveil an enhanced version of its QVC iPhone App. These services are expected to be offered in the coming weeks.

New highlights of the apps for Android, BlackBerry and iPhone include the ability to view customer ratings and reviews and filter search results by category.

The Android and iPhone apps will also provide the users of these devices with access to a full 16:9 HD feed of QVC’s live broadcast.

“The QVC shopping experience has evolved over the years based on an open, continuous dialogue we’ve shared with our customers,” Angie Simmons, QVC’s executive vice president of multichannel platforms, said in a canned statement. “We’re thrilled to provide them with even more options to access our product offerings and to stay engaged with our shopping community – no matter where they are or what they are doing.”

With the QVC apps for Android, BlackBerry and iPhone smartphones, users of these devices will also be able to access QVC’s Today’s Special Value and One Time Only Value.

Now can someone tell us what an Android is in this context? We assume we’re not talking about a little robot, like in sci fi movies. We know, we’re Luddites.