John de Lancie of “Star Trek” fame teaches a class at the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain. (Photo by Ashley McKee/The Oklahoman)
From Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
Sessions fit Q to a T at state arts institute
Actor John de Lancie is accustomed to playing many roles, from acting in TV shows, films and stage productions to directing radio plays and operas.
So, it’s not surprising that de Lancie, best known for playing the impish, godlike alien Q in “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” worked in some multitasking when he accepted a teaching position at this month’s Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute.
For the past two weeks, the 61-year-old performer has been training aspiring actors at the rigorous academy for Oklahoma high school students. The intensive program takes place “out on the frontier” at Quartz Mountain Resort Arts and Conference Center near Lone Wolf in southwest Oklahoma.
“I roll out of bed, go and teach, have a little something to eat for lunch, go and teach and have a little something for dinner, and listen to lectures. So, I’m arts-immersed … just like the kids,” he said with a laugh during a recent phone interview from Quartz Mountain.
Once his students give their final acting performance tonight, de Lancie is headed to Tulsa, where he will appear Saturday and Sunday at Trek Expo 2009.
Though he doesn’t do much teaching these days, he accepted the Quartz Mountain job because of the quality of the program. His usual instructor jobs involve professional actors rather than students – “you know, people who you can pressurize without any compunctions,” he said with a laugh.
“When you’re teaching young kids, a lot of them just haven’t done this … and they certainly haven’t done it at a level with somebody like myself who is coming from the point of view of saying, ‘Listen, this it’s how done and let me explain to you and show you,” he said. “There’s no coddling here because we’re putting up a show and it’s being done very quickly.”
A first-time instructor at Quartz Mountain, he said the program teaches students that just because they’re not in a scene doesn’t mean they’re not engaged in a performance. His students will perform tonight a spoofy adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Lost World,” a sort of performance art homage to radio shows, complete with musical ditties for commercials.
“We’re going to give a nod to the notion of a radio show, but there’s also a great deal of movement. … It is much more a play than it is a radio play,” he said. “It’s a three-ring circus.”
The multifaceted performer said his wide-ranging roles not only make him a better teacher, they make up just the kind of career he had in mind when he got into the entertainment business.
“I’m no good after about three months at anything. I am ready to move on, so the notion of seven years on a TV show is just not particularly something that I would be wanting to do,” he said. “My idea of a great year would be a play, a half dozen readings, a couple of movies, three or four TV shows to pay the bills.”
His Internet Movie Database page lists more than 130 acting credits, including the movies “The Hand that Rocks the Cradle,” “Reign Over Me” and “Crank: High Voltage” and the TV series “Hill Street Blues,” “The West Wing” and “Days of Our Lives.” But for many people, Q remains his most memorable role, though he only played it in a few episodes of the “Star Trek” spin-off series “Next Generation,” “Voyager” and “Deep Space Nine.”
In the 1980s, he made one of the first of his many” Star Trek” convention appearances at Tulsa’s Trek Expo, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. He compares interacting with Trekkies to encountering theater fans who come to the stage door – only “amplify that by 400 or 500 or 2,000 or 3,000 and you have the same thing over a show that in this case I shot 20 years ago.”
“The world of ‘Star Trek’ has been really kind to me. And the people that I’ve met there have been great,” he said. “They’re not as weird as sports fans, who when their team loses the game, they go and burn cars and torch the downtown and when their team wins the game, they also burn cars and torch the downtown.”
Becoming so closely identified with a role such as Q has its advantages and disadvantages, but he doesn’t regret playing the “wonderful character.”
He thinks actors sometimes just need another breakout part, and de Lancie may have found his: He lately has received rave reviews for his recent three-episode guest-starring role as the father of a doomed drug addict in the acclaimed AMC series “Breaking Bad.”
“He loves her desperately but he just doesn’t know which way to turn, he’s done everything, tried everything. It’s a role that I understand that a lot of parents out there … have (sent in) mail about,” he said.
Quartz Mountain Onstage Weekend
When: Public student performances begin at 7 tonight and 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Quartz Mountain Resort Arts and Conference Center near Lone Wolf.
Trek Expo 2009
Where: John Q Hammons Arena, 6836 S Mingo, Tulsa.
From Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
Various artists “Disney/Pixar Greatest” (Walt Disney Records)
Over the past 14 years, the filmmaking geniuses at Pixar Animation Studios have proven they know how to punctuate great storytelling with just the right music.
The studio has compiled 25 songs and instrumental tracks from their first 10 movies – from 1995′s “Toy Story” to the new release “Up” – for the brilliant collection “Disney/Pixar Greatest.”
Pixar’s movies have been nominated for an astounding 11 Oscars in the best original song and original score categories, and all those honorees are represented on the collection.
The eclectic compilation matches the diversity of Pixar’s films, which delve into a variety of subject matters, tones and genres. The nine songs range from Randy Newman’s folksy “Toy Story” theme “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” to Peter Gabriel’s soulful “Down to Earth” from “WALL-E.”
Sarah McLachlan breaks hearts with “When She Loved Me” from “Toy Story 2,” while Sheryl Crow gets engines revving with “Real Gone,” the opener to “Cars.” “Monsters, Inc.” stars Billy Crystal and John Goodman charm with their Oscar-winning in-character duet “If I Didn’t Have You.”
Country trio Rascal Flatts, which includes Joe Don Rooney of Picher, contributes its hit cover of Tom Cochrane’s “Life Is a Highway” from “Cars.”
The CD also features 16 memorable instrumentals, various pieces of film scores ranging from the superheroic theme to “The Incredibles” to a soaring snippet from “Up.”
As with any compilation, the album has its missing pieces, especially Newman’s evocative “I Will Go Sailing No More” from “Toy Story,” Brad Paisley’s heartfelt “Find Yourself” from “Cars” and Robbie Williams’ solid cover of the Bobby Darin standard “Beyond the Sea” from “Finding Nemo.” And of course, the best musical elements of “WALL-E” aren’t Pixar originals but Jerry Herman’s wonderful songs from “Helly, Dolly!,” which play such a pivotal role in the film.
Pixar fans of all ages will be able to easily identify the movie and often even the cinematic moment the tracks come from. Like the films themselves, the music collection provides quality entertainment for the whole family.
Today’s featured event:
See Lyric Theatre’s production of Disney’s “High School Musical 2″ at 8 tonight at the Civic Center, 201 N Walker.
Lyric also is staging the adaptation of the mega-popular Disney Channel movie at 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.
For more information, go to www.LyricTheatreOKC.com.
For more events, go to www.wimgo.com.
Michael Jackson hauls off his trophies after winning in eight categories at the 1984 Grammys (Associated Press photos)
From left, Jackson singing in 1972, performing in 1993, speaking at a news conference after his 2004 arraignment, and smiling at a 2009 press conference announcing his comeback concerts.
Michael Jackson won’t get his chance at a comeback.
The talented “King of Pop,” whose life had devolved over the past few years into a series of bizarre scandals, died today, a person with knowledge of the situation told the Associated Press.
The news was initially circulated on online gossip sites and Twitter. Here is what the AP is reporting now:
The person said Jackson died in a Los Angeles hospital. The person was not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity.
The circumstances of his death were not immediately clear. Jackson was not breathing when Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics responded to a call at his Los Angeles home about 12:30 p.m., Capt. Steve Ruda told the Los Angeles Times. The paramedics performed CPR and took him to UCLA Medical Center, Ruda told the newspaper.
Jackson was only 50 years old. But for music fans who grew up in the 1960s, ’70s or ’80s – I’m an ’80s kid myself – we felt like we knew Michael Jackson his whole life.
Born Aug. 29, 1958, in Gary, Ind., he was the seventh of nine children for Joseph and Katherine Jackson. He was still a boy when he joined his older brothers in the hitmaking group the Jackson Five. His incredible musical and dance talents – along with his sparkling star power - were quickly apparent, and he became the leader of the group. He also embarked on a solo career in the early ’70s.
By the ’80s, when I was growing up, Jackson was a mega-star in his early 20s. I remember learning about Jackson from my older cousin, Dana, who plastered her room with magazine pages and posters and blasted his music nonstop. I didn’t mind: The music was incredible; the moniker “King of Pop” seemed appropriate.
Even more, Jackson broke the race barrier on MTV and set a new standard for live musical performances and music videos.
He was such a showman: My dad recorded the video for “Billie Jean” off a midnight music video countdown that ran on broadcast TV and our whole family watched it again and again. Dad kept that VHS tape for years, until it was just ragged; knowing him, he may even still have it.
Jacko’s 1982 album “Thriller” – which featured the blockbuster hits “Beat It,” ”Billie Jean” and “Thriller” – remains the biggest-selling album of all time, with more than 26 million copies, according to the AP.
He set a style trend with his single sequined glove, tight, military-style jacket, and aviator sunglasses, and he got everyone attempting the moonwalk when he created the distinctive dance.
Later, he became known for other, less savory trademarks. He frequently grabbed his crotch while dancing, and his appearance was considerably – and frequently – surgically altered.
And then it got even weirder: He wore a germ mask, dangled his baby (whose face was shrouded) out a window, turned his Neverland ranch home into a zoo/amusement park, and kept a pet chimpanzee named Bubbles.
In 2005, he was cleared of charges he molested a 13-year-old cancer survivor at Neverland in 2003. Though he was acquited, the scandal took a terrible toll on his career and image, and he fell on hard financial times.
Perhaps the saddest part of Jackson’s sudden passing is that he never got the chance to redeem himself – to make his big comeback, get past the scandals and weirdness and reestablish himself as a serious musical star. He never had the opportunity get away from Wacko Jacko and back to the King of Pop, or at least just plain Jacko.
And the opportunity was in the offing: He was scheduled to play an unprecedented 50 shows at London’s O2 Arena. The first was scheduled for July 13.
Jackson was in rehearsals in Los Angeles for the concert, which AP reports was supposed to “an extravaganza that was to capture the classic Jackson magic: showstopping dance moves, elaborate staging and throbbing dance beats.”
If he had pulled off the shows - and managed to come across as not totally odd while doing it - he might have been back on the path to regain his pop crown.
As someone who still gets a thrill from hearing ”Thriller,” who can’t help dancing when “ABC” turns up in a movie or ad or on the radio, who goes back sometimes and watches the iconic “Billie Jean” video and just awes at how awesome Jackson once was, I’d like to think The Gloved One would have made the most of his comeback if he’d lived long enough to have the chance. It’s a true shame he didn’t get that chance.
Besides his legions of fans around the world, Jackson had children, siblings, parents, other family members and friends. Our thoughts are with them at this time.
My colleague, Carla Hinton, has written an excellent column about seeing Jackson perform live. Click here to read it.
Farrah Fawcett in 2006 (Associated Press photos)
Kate Jackson, (from left), Farrah Fawcett and Jaclyn Smith were the original “Charlie’s Angels” on the series that aired 1976-81 on ABC.
Actress Farrah Fawcett, who rose to fame as one of the three beautiful private detectives on the 1970s TV show “Charlie’s Angels,” died today after losing a battle with cancer.
Fawcett died this morning in a Santa Monica hospital, according to the Associated Press. She was 62.
She was born Mary Farrah Leni Fawcett on Feb. 2, 1947, in Corpus Christi, Texas. Her acting career was launched while she was attending the University of Texas at Austin, where she was named one of the 10 most beautiful people on campus. Her photo made it into the hands of movie publicist David Mirisch, who suggested she pursue a film career.
She soon started appearing in such TV shows as “That Girl,” ”The Flying Nun,” ”I Dream of Jeannie” and “The Partridge Family.”
But her breakout came in 1976, when she was cast with Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith as three sexy martial arts experts who took their orders from the mysterious Charlie (voice of John Forsythe) in the TV series “Charlie’s Angels.”
With her flowing blond locks, wide, white smile and trim figure, Fawcett became a style icon and sex symbol. Her face was recreated on T-shirts, lunch boxes, shampoo, wigs and even a novelty plumbing device called Farrah’s faucet. And a poster of her in a damp red swimsuit sold millions of copies.
She left “Charlie’s Angels” after one season to pursue a movie career but found little success. Her first big-screen project, the comedy-mystery “Somebody Killed Her Husband,” was a flop. Sci-fi fans probably remember her role in the movie “Logan’s Run.”
Fawcett had better luck with TV movies such as “Murder in Texas,” ”Poor Little Rich Girl” and “The Burning Bed.” She earned an Emmy nomination for playing an abused wife in 1984′s “The Burning Bed.”
She also appeared off-Broadway in “Extremities” as a woman who is raped in her own home. She reprised the role in the 1986 film version.
She also played a murderous mother in the 1989 true-crime story “Small Sacrifices” and a tough lawyer in 1992′s “Criminal Behavior.” She starred in biographies of Nazi-hunter Beate Klarsfeld and photographer Margaret Bourke-White, too.
In September 2006, at the age of 59, she was diagnosed with anal cancer after two weeks of tests.
Her battle with the illness, including her search for a cure in the U.S. and Germany, was chronicled in the TV documentary “Farrah’s Story.”
She survived by her longtime companion, fellow actor Ryan O’Neal, and their son, Redmond O’Neal. (She was previously married to actor Lee Majors in 1973, but they divorced in 1982.)
Our thoughts are with her family, friends and fans.
To read the AP obituary, click here.
Paul Cézanne, “The François Zola Dam,” circa 1877-78 (Photo courtesy American Federation of Arts)
Today’s featured event:
See the amazing paintings and works on paper in the touring exhibition ”Turner to Cezanne: Masterpieces from the Davies Collection, National Museum Wales” at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, where it opens today.
The exhibit will be in Oklahoma City until Sept. 20, but the sooner you see it the better, because you don’t want to miss this show, which includes paintings from Monet, Renoir, Manet and many other famed artists.
For more information, go to www.okcmoa.com.
For more events, go to www.wimgo.com.
David Cook performs a show on his “The Declaration Tour,” which he brought to Oklahoma City Wednesday night. (Associated Press photo)
David Cook proved in person Wednesday night that his as-seen-on-TV potential and promise are real.
The 2008 “American Idol” winner and his talented band energized a sold-out Oklahoma City crowd with a short but potent rock ‘n’ roll show.
“This is our first, like, big (solo) tour,” Cook said, chuckling at the shrieks that accompanied his every word. “So we want you guys to leave here tonight feeling like your appetite for a rock show has been satiated.”
Job well done: His emotive hour-long set of power ballads and soaring anthems thrilled with screaming guitars, thundering drums and casual charisma, creating an arena rock sound and vibe that seemed a bit too big for the overheated Diamond Ballroom.
The show capped off an Oklahoma homecoming trip for Cook, who was living, playing clubs and tending bar in Tulsa when he auditioned for “American Idol” back in 2007. The singer/songwriter/guitarist, who grew up in Blue Springs, Mo., also played a sold-out concert Tuesday night at Tulsa’s historic Cain’s Ballroom, plus an acoustic post-show jam at one of his old haunts, the Gray Snail Saloon.
Fervent fans welcomed Cook back to Oklahoma: Despite the summertime heat, more than 100 people were lined up outside the Diamond Ballroom by 5 p.m. Wednesday – two hours before doors opened – jockeying for the privilege to stand closest to the stage. Though the crowd of about 1,000 leaned toward squealing female fans, the show drew a good mix of men and women, including young couples, parents with children, grandparents, teenagers and, yes, the cougars who so famously love Cook.
When the house lights went down, they chanted Cook’s name, and when their “Idol” seized the stage with the sexy, pulsating “Kiss on the Neck,” they yelled in adulation.
Cook’s jaunty hat, black V-neck T-shirt, facial scruff, electric guitar, gravelly voice and wide grin were all in place as he hit the high points from his platinum-selling self-titled album, including the angsty “Mr. Sensitive,” the heartbreaking “Lie” and the anthemic “Declaration.”
But some of the show’s best moments came when Cook delved beyond his 2008 post-”Idol” debut, including the passionate “Make Me,” a song from his days with the Tulsa-based touring band Midwest Kings. It was a fitting choice, considering Cook’s capable current band includes former MWK guitarists Neal “Doctor” Tiemann and Andy Skib.
The 26-year-old singer and his bandmates reached all the way back to 1986 for the highlight of the night. They got the entire crowd dancing and shouting along when they transformed Cutting Crew’s pop hit “(I Just) Died in Your Arms” into a full-blown, post-grunge rocker.
Throughout the night, Cook showed he has lost none of the easy charm, goofball tendencies and disarming humbleness evident on the seventh season of the reality TV singing contest.
After commenting on the stifling heat inside the venue, he performed the uplifting “Heroes” with a guitar pick stuck to his sweaty forehead. He often joked with the crowd and even asked at one point for the house lights to go up so he could see and thank his fans.
“There’s some of you that’s got the idea to move around a little, have your hands in the air, shaking your head a little bit, maybe shaking you’re a – -, whatever feels comfortable. But the idea is to move around,” Cook quipped as the band broke into the grungy-bluesy groove of “Bar-ba-sol.”
On several songs, Cook encouraged the crowd to take over the chorus, listening with a smile on his face. And he so charmed the fans he could get them to sing, clap or cheer with little more than a crook of his finger.
Cook and Co. abruptly exited the stage with the final strains of the power ballad “Come Back to Me,” but several minutes of screaming, chanting and clapping brought them back for another big love song, “Light On.”
The budding rock star closed the show with a song he wrote back in 2006 at a friend’s house in Tulsa.
“Now, three years later, it’s on a freaking record. It’s kind of ridiculous,” Cook said as he launched into the stirring “A Daily AntheM,” a tribute to his late brother Adam, who recently died of cancer.
As he and the audience belted out “oh, oh, whoa-oh” together, Cook climbed a huge speaker to lead the fans in waving their arms, then finished with his hands clasped in a kind of celebratory gratitude.
The show certainly left fans clamoring for more: Cook’s entire set, including the encore, was only an hour long. With much of his album left unplayed and his reputation for creative covers, it seems that Cook could have given his adoring audience more music for their money.
Cook was ably assisted in his quest to rock the crowd by high-energy opener Ryan Star, a fellow reality TV show veteran from “Rock Star: Supernova.” His ballads “11:59,” “Breathe” and “Last Train Home,” along with “Psycho Suicidal Girl,” got fans warmed up for their “Idol.”
See the full set list for the show after the break.
Since I mentioned in my last video post that Rooster Teeth’s new series is better if you have seen their last mini-series, BAM has requested that I post them here. Also, I posted the PSA they released for Valentine’s Day.
Oklahoma born Rick Bayless won his round of the Bravo summer series “Top Chef Masters” earlier this evening. The series is a spin-off of Bravo’s popular reality staple “Top Chef.” However, instead of focusing on up and coming chefs trying to make it in the culinary world, “Top Chef Masters” allows many established award-winning chefs to compete for charity.
Many of the chefs competing, including Mr. Bayless, have already served as judges on the show and wanted to know how they would do if they were given such challenges. The challenge that put Rick over the top involved making an appealing dish out of different types of “offal”, or organ meat. Rick played to his strengths as the king of Mexican food by making tongue tacos. In doing so, he impressed the judges and beat his nearest competitor by a fairly large margin.
There will be six rounds, with the winner of each going on to participate in the Finals and the grand prize of $100,000. For his win this evening, Mr. Bayless will receive a berth in the finals and $10,000 for his charity the “Frontera Farmers Foundation,” which gives grants to small farm families.
3D here again to keep you updated on what the boys over at Rooster Teeth are up to. As I posted last week, they have begun a new summer series “Recreation.” Below I have posted the first two chapters. However, I have to warn you that if you have not seen the “Relocated” mini-series they did over the winter, then you will not get as much out of it. As always with Rooster Teeth, beware of hilarity and foul language!