Yesterday, DAVID AXELROD was the Signature Debate Speaker on “The Evolving Media and Political Landscape” – a Debate 2016 event at Hofstra University, which is hosting the first presidential debate later this month, on September 26.
My favorite Q&A exchange began when a student referred to Axelrod’s advice to vote for one of the two major party candidates, rather than casting a statement vote for a candidate with no realistic chance of winning. The student then said he did not want to vote for either the Democrat or Republican nominee and indeed would vote for a 3rd party candidate.
So Axelrod gave an example of when protest votes for a 3rd party candidate may have affected the outcome of the election:
In the 2000 presidential race in the pivotal state of Florida, Green Party nominee Ralph Nader received over 97,000 votes, and Democrat Al Gore received just 537 fewer votes than Republican George W Bush, who won the presidency.
Unswayed, the student once again said he’d be voting for a 3rd party candidate.
Axelrod began to say something, then abruptly stopped, glanced up and then back at the student, and asked if he was from New York. When the student said yes he was, Axelrod cheerfully told him to go and vote away. The student smiled as he returned to his seat; the audience clapped.
FYI from LI: The most recent Republican presidential candidate to win New York was Ronald Reagan in 1984.
Last night my daughter Sue and I saw Episode 1 of Kevin Can Wait being filmed at Gold Coast Studios in Bethpage. This new CBS sitcom, starring actor Kevin James, is the first prime-time network series originating from a Long Island studio – hello, Hollywood East!
First we saw the pilot, which gave background to the episode being filmed that night. It introduced us to the Gable family: father Kevin, a newly retired police officer; mother Donna, a school nurse; and their children Kendra, Sara, and Jack.
We also met Kevin’s brother Kyle (who looks like a short Kevin with facial hair), Kendra’s fiancé Chale (who looks like… no, I’ll leave that as a surprise), and Kevin’s three friends who are fellow retired police officers.
BTW from LI: The Gable family lives in the south shore town of Massapequa, so they’d have to move just a few miles west to be the Gables of Merrick Gables, a 1920s development of Spanish stucco houses near my home.
HAPPY & PEPPY
Long Island’s Joey Kola was the warm up comedian. Over the course of the night, Joey identified dozens of cast and crew … had us sing along to songs the DJ played … shared anecdotes that were probably at least partly true… did fast and furious impressions (mostly of Long Islanders, of course)… and introduced countless audience members who were fellow comedians, notable Long Islanders, media personalities, and relatives of cast and crew.
The first scene filmed was the first scene of the episode, and there were several partial and whole retakes (that I found riveting) – of this scene and scenes in general – in order to tweak dialogue and action, and film from different viewpoints. As Director Andy Fickman – who made some genuinely funny comments when cameras weren’t filming – explained to the audience, the sitcom studio filming is done in chronological order – except that night the last two scenes were reversed so Mary-Charles Jones, a minor, would finish her last scene before 11 PM.
I especially liked how Kevin Gable – the eponymous character played by star Kevin James, a gifted everyman physical comedian – didn’t always have to be the one getting the Big Laugh, so his character had the chance to convey emotion, doubt, conflicted feelings – you know, things real people feel while living life without a laugh track, let alone a live studio audience.
And I hope to see more of Chale, who stood out as a unique, engaging character.
BTW from LI: “Chale” has a range of meanings throughout the world: Perhaps the village Chale in the Isle of Wight, England, is relevant. Also, “Chale” means “strong” and “manly” in Spanish, which might be something to think about.
When Executive Producer Rock Reuben took questions from the audience, he stated that KCW will be free of references to a certain infamous Massapequa resident from the early 1990s.
BTW from LI: Wouldn’t it be fun if Kevin Can Wait has Kevin bumping into, or even hanging with, Long Island natives Alec Baldwin, Ray Romero, Jerry Seinfeld – say, at All American Hamburger?
Cameras weren’t allowed, but cell phones were, though they couldn’t be on/out during filming.
Media, including People magazine and Newsday, were there to cover the night, and though I wished now and then I were covering it with my Nikon D4, it was a nice change to be sitting there with my daughter and fellow audience members, simply enjoying the show – you know, things people do while living life without a pro DSLR and Press badge.
The long evening of filming was so much fun it sped by. If you’re in the Long Island area and interested in free tickets to a future filming of Kevin Can Wait at Gold Coast Studios in Bethpage, visit 1iota.com (August & most September 2016 dates are already Sold Out). And don’t forget to eat dinner before you go to the studio.
So, okay, maybe it’s partly because I’m from Long Island, plus there’s a retired police officer in our family, but I enjoyed watching the pilot and filming of the first episode of Kevin Can Wait, and can’t wait to see its premiere on Monday, September 19, 8:30 PM (EST) on CBS.
Kevin James as Kevin Gable
Erinn Hayes as wife Donna
Taylor Spreitler as daughter Kendra
Ryan Cartwright as Kendra’s fiancé Chale
Mary-Charles Jones as younger daughter Sara
James DiGiacomo as son Jack
Gary Valentine as Kevin’s brother Kyle
Christopher Brian Roach as Mott
Leonard Earl Howze as Goody
Lenny Venito as Duffy
Episode 1 “Kevin and Donna’s Book Club”
Writer: Heather Flanders
Director: Andy Fickman
Executive Producers: Kevin James, Bruce Helford, Rock Reuben, Jess Sussman
9/19/2016: During Z100’s Elvis Duran Morning Show, my daughter Sue spoke with Kevin James about how much she enjoyed being in the audience for taping of Kevin Can Wait at Gold Coast Studios in Bethpage, NY.
Listen to above 2-minute clip to hear what my daughter Sue calls Kevin James, on Z100’s Elvis Duran Morning Show, 9/19/2016.
Singers Robbie Rosen, from neighboring Merrick, and Sarah Barrios, each a mere three years older than LIIFE itself, sang solo and together. Their duet “Chains” – which they performed both that night and in the Musical Video that went on to win that category – was one of restrained raw emotion and distinctive, complimentary singing styles.
Bernard Rammerstorfer, from Austria, accepted the Alan Fortunoff Humanitarian Award for his documentary Taking the Stand, which he directed, produced and wrote to share the “Testimonies of Holocaust Survivors and Victims of Nazi Tyranny.” Before leaving the stage, Rammerstorfer gave LIIFE a bottle of Organic Austrian Plum Schnaps, which he cheerfully described at length.
Actor Cathy Moriarity (Vikki LaMotta in Raging Bull) gave an affectionate introduction to LIIFE’s Lifetime Achievement Award honoree, Ed Asner, who’s best known to my generation as cranky, lovable Lou Grant in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and to my grandson as widower Carl in Pixar’s animated Up.
Not coincidentally, the documentary My Friend Ed – a portrait of Asner the actor and activist, by director and producer Sharon K Baker and co-writers Baker and Daniel R. Collins – made its Long Island debut at LIIFE 2016.
Long Island’s own Angela Anton – the Publisher of Anton Community Newspapers, and a philanthropist and volunteer, including Board President of the Nassau County Museum of Art – received the Humanitarian Award.
LIIFE’s three surviving co-founders each spoke: Debra Markowitz, the Nassau County Film Commissioner; and Anne Stampfel and husband Henry Stampfel, co-owners of the historic Bellmore Movies where the Awards Ceremony was held.
Skipper the Jack Russell terrier was one of many celebrators dressed in patriotic red, white and blue when awards were handed out, and the 60th Annual Miss Wantagh Pageant crowning ceremony was held, following the Wantagh Independence Day Parade yesterday morning.
In 1958, when Clayton was 18, she was Miss Congeniality and First Runner Up in the New York State pageant of Miss America. But Miss Wantagh isn’t a beauty pageant. It crowns a Wantagh resident in high school based mainly on academic excellence and community service.
Officials included Hon. Christopher Quinn, Supervising Judge of Nassau County Court; Erin King-Sweeney, Town Councilwoman; Steve Rhoads, Nassau County Legislator, District 19; and Ella Stevens, the Miss Wantagh Pageant Coordinator.
I literally & frequently had to hold onto my hat Sunday afternoon, since it was such a breezy spring day at the Antique & Collectible Auto Show – with hundreds of vintage, classic, and collectible vehicles – at Old Westbury Gardens.
After getting a cold soda at the refreshment table, I spotted Pastor Green and Miska – an NYPD Service Dog who helps Marine veterans – near the Free Hugs booth of Marine Corps League, North Shore Queens Detachment #240. Both the pastor and his Husky and German Shepherd mix partner were so patient as I captured photos of Miska with her arresting ice-blue eyes and white fur.
Especially because this was the rain date for the event, some participants had other commitments to go to, so the trophy ceremony began early, explained officers from the Antique Automobile Club of America’s Greater New York Region chapter, which sponsored this 50th Annual Spring Meet.
Driving home in Bob’s faithful 2000 Honda later that day, we passed a local business with a large American flag flying at half mast, likely in sympathy for the victims of the horrific mass shootings early that morning at the Orlando nightclub.
“Hold on tight because this is going to hurt like hell.” – JohnA Passara
This Monday, Hillary Clinton and moderator Rep. Steve Israel held a discussion on gun violence prevention, to a full house at the Landmark Theater in Port Washington. The panel included five women who each lost a relative to gun violence.
Rita Kestenbaum lost her daughter Carol shot at Arizona State University; Marie Delus lost her nephew Pierre-Paul Jean-Paul shot in Queens; Erica Smegielski lost her mother, Dawn Lafferty Hochsprungand, the Principal killed in Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown CT; Natasha Christopher, lost her son Akeal, 15, shot in Brooklyn; and Sandy Phillips lost her daughter Jessica Ghawi, 24, killed in theater shooting in Aurora, CO.
The panelists supported Clinton’s call for tougher gun control legislation and vow to take on the gun lobby – NRA National Rifle Association.
And the security screening I and other Press went through was even stricter than it was for Hillary Clinton’s Book Signing two summers ago. Monday it involved a police dog, a variety of scanning equipment, police and agents checking people and their equipment multiple times and places – and more.
Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky, the Democratic candidate for the Special Election to fill the New York Senate seat left vacant by Skelos, introduced Pres. Clinton to a room that appeared packed beyond capacity with Hillary Clinton supporters, plus media.
After a campaign speech often punctuated with loud cheers and and applause from the audience, Pres. Clinton spent about 20 minutes exiting the room, as audience members took cell phone photos of, and with, the 42nd President of the USA. When Clinton had all but left, someone handed him a baby as cute as her crying was loud, and the President posed for more photos.
FYI: The New York presidential primary and the New York State Senate seat special election are both scheduled for April 19, 2016.