Ventura Gets Pinned
The suits at NBCs Rockefeller Center Sports and Burbanks NBC Entertainment Departments have decided to give Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura "the boot." NBCs head programming honcho Jeff Zucker is "99.9% certain to drop kick the XFL off the NBC primetime lineup and the Minnesota Governor will be part of the carnage," an NBC news insider tells QConfidential.
Our source adds, "Maybe now NBC wont appeal to the lowest common denominator in order to make up for their loss of NFL football to CBS."
As for Jesse Ventura, his 15 minutes are up according to our insider: "By associating himself with the perceived illegitimate XFL, the self-promoting Ventura has promoted a disgusting enterprise and in so doing has repelled and alienated his support base, notably NBCs Tim Russert, host of 'Meet the Press.'"
It was Russert who gave Ventura a national forum to present himself. An assistant to Russert tells QConfidential "Tim staked his reputation by having him on the show. Jesse surprised everybody by not acting like a jerk. Instead he was a well-informed, articulate, refreshing voice on the political landscape. Tim had him back again and again. He was a great guest."
According to the Russert staffer, " NBC basically hired Jesse to do the XFL games when Tim suggested it. But when he teamed up with McMahon, he reverted to his old vulgar self and did himself in. He demeaned the press who covered him by making them wear credentials that read 'official jackal.' Insulting the media like that was the straw as far as Tim was concerned. He helped make Jesse a sensation, but hes cutting his ties with Jesse. Everybody else has. Conan (OBrien) got the okay from upper brass to rag on him during his monologue."
NBC is in the process of intentionally grounding the XFL. Vince McMahon need not expect receiving clemency from Governor Ventura. The Minnesota Governors political career has been simultaneously undergoing a freefall with no reprieve in sight.Scenes From An Italian Restaurant
How does Billy Joel prepare for his performance at the big all-star concert event in honor of the genius creative inspiration for The Beach Boys, Brian Wilson? He breaks bread, or rather focaccio, with friends at one of the most intriguing restaurants to open for business in New York this season.
Fittingly, Joel and his pals were in a " New York Italian Restaurant State of Mind" and that evenings choice was "Beppe" in the Flatiron District.
The "Piano Man" and his entourage feasted on copious portions of pastas, homey soups, and Chef Cesaris Italian variation of American southern fried chicken and barbecued spare ribs accompanied by beans and collared greens (lauded by New York Magazine as the Best in New York).
Good vibrations permeated the restaurant. According to a QConf foodie, "Its a very festive place. Many of the regulars at Coco Pazza on the East Side, where chef Cesari used to work, came downtown to check out his new place. Billy Joel was sitting at a large round table near the front of the restaurant in full view of anyone being seated. You could not help but notice people staring at him. Hes such a beloved New Yorker, and more to the point, hes so well known for singing his song about an Italian restaurant, that fans realized the irony of seeing him in one."Cultural Guardian
Do not assume that being an ardent, unapologetic supporter of Rudy Giuliani, and being appointed to the Mayors Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission assessing the decency or indecency of art shown in New York City means that any art remotely construed as sacreligious will be boycotted under the vigilant scrutiny of panel members. WABC Radio Talk Show host and Guardian Angel leader Curtis Sliwa is adament about his open mindedness, and qualification to sit on the committee. QConfidential was informed that Sliwa spoke colorfully and succinctly about his role as a member. Said Sliwa, "No one has to worry about me. I can tell a Michelob from a Michaelangelo."Politics, Hip-Hop And Saying Sorry
Since presidential candidate Bill Clinton played his saxophone on the Arsenio Hall Show to show the country that he would be the countrys first "black" president if elected, candidates have been sure to make the talk-show rounds.
Show business and politics moved even closer the past two weeks with President George W. Bushs administration and a Bad Boy rapper both practicing the art of saying sorry without expressing responsibility.
On April 11, to gain the freedom of 24 U.S. Naval officers, U.S. Ambassador to China Joseph Prueher told the Chinese, "Both President Bush and Secretary of State Powell have expressed their sincere regret over your missing pilot and aircraft. We are very sorry for [the Chinese peoples and the family of the missing pilots] loss," and "We are very sorry the entering of Chinas airspace and the landing did not have verbal clearance."
However, the administration would not accept responsibility for the missing pilot or anything else as the Chinese had wanted.
As if taking a page out of the presidents book, five days later, rapper Jamaal "Shyne" Barrow, who was convicted on assault charges last month, wrote in a statement read in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, "I apologize to the victims; I didnt cause your pain but you can place your blame on my shoulders."
And the great divide narrows and Hip-Hop mimics politics.In Memory Of Queens' Joey Ramone
With the untimely passing of punk music legend and Forest Hills-born lead singer of the Ramones, Joey Ramone last week, one person who knew him from way back when shared with QConf a Queens memory of the Ramones in the mid-1970s.
"In the early days, around 1974 or 1975, before they broke it big," recalled Steven Wurtzel, "before they became legends at CBGBs, they played a gig at the Rego Park Jewish Center."
It was the day of the annual Israeli Day Parade when they were set to play the center. After the parade had ended, some seniors that had marched went to the center to unwind. What the shocked seniors found, however, was not bagels or coffee, not even a senior dance it was the Ramones signature, loud, rapid-fire brand of fiery punk music rocking the Jewish Center like it had never been rocked before.
"The seniors came in, sat down, and ran out," he said. "You would have thought it was a bomb scare. It was hysterical."
According to Wurtzel, who went to Forest Hills High School with some of the band, the Ramones would prepare for those early gigs at an art gallery underneath the old Trylon Movie Theater in Forest Hills. It was so loud, said the source, "you could hear it clearly from the street."
Those passersby got an early taste of the sound that would change pop music forever . . . a taste those fickle seniors missed by running away.
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