Showing posts from 2008

DOUBT with Meryl Streep is a surprise Blockbuster!

Last night I attended a screening of the new movie DOUBT, starring acting heavyweights Meryl Streep and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. OH MY GOD…what a great film! It still hasn’t been released until later this month...this screening was for Screen Actors Guild members and included a Q&A following the film with the movie's screenwriter AND director John Patrick Shanley (MOONSTRUCK) and his friend, fellow director Norman Jewison. I saw the Shanley play on Broadway several years ago starring Cherry Jones in the Streep role and the story has been largely re-written, according to Shanley, “opened up” and re-adapted for the screen. The play is set in a Catholic parish church and school in the Bronx circa 1964.
Hoffman plays the priest Father Flynn and Meryl Streep is the feisty, elderly head nun, Sister Aloysius, who strongly accuses the priest of improper conduct (pedophilia?) when he be-friends a 12 year old black boy, who stands out in the all-white school. But she still has some “doub…

New York City is Never Never Land of Celebrities

WOW…this weekend the Rich & Famous Tour was hot and Jim Dykes was truly the "guide to the stars" as we kept running into celebrities all over New York…East Side, West Side…all around the town! Friday on the Upper Westside my group from San Francisco when we ran into Barbara Walters in front of the ABC Studio complex. We turned around and suddenly there was Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner with beautiful baby Violet, and awhile later we bumped into old film star Connie Stevens, completely overdressed in fur (it was 54 degrees!) while gabbing on her cellphone. Connie has an apt. over there by ABC Studios even though her main home is in L.A. She lives in the same luxury building as Howard Stern, Regis Philbin, Celine Dion, Julie Andrews and others. We also saw Cynthia Nixon (Miranda from Sex and the City) with her grocery bags, piling into a cab in front of Columbus Circle's Whole Foods.
On Saturday morning we were touring thru the Upper Eastside (E. 71st Street to be e…

Robert Wagner made me lose my breakfast on LIVE With Regis and Kelly

Robert Wagner made me lose my breakfast on LIVE With Regis and Kelly

Robert Wagner, an aging pretty-boy with limited acting skills who became famous for starring in (mostly) B movies and “romances” with beautiful A-list film stars, has written a memoir: Pieces of My Heart-- so he must need money. I’ve always heard stars only write books when they need money. (Above is a pic of me in my tux taken the night after this event. As you can see, I'm another "pretty boy"...I'm 27 years older now).
On Regis & Kelly this morning he is obviously trying to sell books so he attempted to come off as just “one of the boys.” I met Mr. Wagner when I was working backstage for producer Alexander Cohen in the Green Room at Radio City Music Hall for Night of 100 Stars II in 1985. Originally from Michigan, one suspects he portrays his climb to stardom as much of a “Little Me” version of things. He said he moved to LA (Bel Air!) as a teenager and got a job as a caddy at a golf course f…

Barclay's Bails Out Lehman Brothers--Rich & Famous Tours Exclusive

News Flash from Jim Dykes of Rich and Famous Tours (New York City):

Barclay Bank bails out Lehman Brothers—12 noon; Sept. 16, Tuesday
I just spoke to an old friend who works at Lehman Brothers and she whispered into the telephone: Barclay’s Bank saved us…looks like I’ll have a job thru the end of the year or maybe longer! Hooray… This is unconfirmed…no one has officially released it, but I’ve known this person since 7th grade and she has never been known to knowingly tell a lie.
Apparently, according to my friend, Barclay's is not taking the British part of Lehman Bros. OR the American part that deals with those bad mortgages...but everything else. Details are being worked out as we, Sept. 16 at 12 noon.

Michael Riedel's Interview with Hal Prince, the legendary Broadway Producer

Hal Prince was watching the Screen Actor’s Guild Awards on TV last January when he turned to his wife and started babbling in gibberish. “Get dressed” she said, “we’re going to the hospital.” On the eve of his 80th birthday, Prince,whose credits include WEST SIDE STORY, EVITA, FOLLIES and PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, had suffered a stroke. But now, only seven months later, he’s back at work, feisty, charming, opinionated, very funny and gearing up for his 61st show, PARADISE LOST, which he’ll direct in the Spring, possibly starring Mandy Patinkin, John Cullum, Judy Kaye and Schuler Hensley with music by the waltz king, Johan Strauss.
At the start of the new theatre season—one that could be rocky, given the economy—I wanted to get Prince’s view of Broadway, his stomping ground since 1936, when, at age 8, he saw his first show. Asked if he thinks the boom that Broadway’s been enjoying for the last 10 years is about to go bust, he says: “Boom is an economic word; it does not mean quality. And t…

Broadway Update--Dolly Parton's 9 to 5, Katie Holmes, Tommy Tune, Jeremy Piven, Mad Men's Peggy (Elisabeth Moss), Shrek The Musical

Curtain Up! The new Broadway theatre season is here, so let's shine the spotlight on a few of the big names trying to conquer the Great White Way:Hello Dolly!--Country music hasn't fared very well on Broadway but if anybody can break the "hick ceiling" it's going to be Dolly Parton. The fabled country star has written an original score for the stage adaptation of "9 to 5: The Musical," now rehearsing in Los Angeles. Dolly, sources say, isn't the least bit diva-ish about her songs. If director Joe Mantello doesn't think a number is right, Dolly heads to the piano to bang out a new one.She's got stiff competition: Elton John's score to "Billy Elliot," still the show to beat, is the best he's written for the theatre. But if the songs in "9 to 5" are as catchy as the title number, Broadway could start to look like Dollywood.

CRUISIN FOR A BRUISIN: Poor Katie Holmes got off to a rough start when The New York Post report…

HAIR in Central Park with Rich and Famous Tours


The Re-Birth of Chelsea's Ladies Mile historic Shopping District in New York City

Peter Allen said “everything old is new again,” and boy was he right. New York is one of those places that constantly re-invents itself and a good example of that is Chelsea’s LADIES MILE shopping district along Sixth Ave. Many years ago when I began leading personalized tours around the Apple ( ) and ( )-- I referred to the stretch of Sixth Avenue from 14th Street to 23rd Street as “The Graveyard of Old Department Stores” because of the huge behemoth buildings once built as a shopping “mecca” and long since deserted since many of the big stores followed “society” uptown or went out of business altogether. Many people don’t realize that years ago this was the “heart and soul” of New York City’s most glamourous shopping district, officially known as “The Ladies Mile” since in those days the bulk of shoppers were ladies, corseted into hoop skirts and bustles, and rushing about under the “El” or elevated train that bustled high above Sixth…

Spotting Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) on New York City's West 22nd Street (Repeatedly)

Spotting “Harry Potter” on New York’s West 22nd Street
As readers of this blog on know, I’m a creature of the grimy streets of New York City, leading Rich and Famous Tours all day and sometimes at night. Well, dear blog readers who are fans of “Harry Potter” or Daniel Radcliffe, you should know that there have been several “street sitings” of Harry/Daniel--all on West 22nd Street near Sixth Avenue. I spotted him once, nonchalantly strolling west, and a couple of friends of mine have reported seeing him—also on West 22nd Street—at various times of day and night. Everyone knows he’s in town for his Broadway debut in September in “Equus” at the Broadhurst Theatre on West 44th Street. These spotting go back to mid-summer, so he’s obviously leased (or bought?) an apartment in the fashionable Chelsea neighborhood around the corner from the Flatiron Building and Ladies Mile, the historic re-born 19th century Department Store District (check my later blog). S…

IGLTA Cocktail Party at New York's Novotel Hotel--Just Fabulous!

Tonight Rich & Famous Tours – --attended the IGLTA (International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association) cocktail party held at the Novotel in midtown Manhattan. Every gay person in the Greater New York or Northeast tour/travel industry or everybody that hopes to cash in on the lucrative gay & lesbian tourism market were there tonight. The weather was fabulous…warm and summery with a light breeze and low humidity—a good hair day in other words. The party was held on the Novotel’s fabulous outdoor terrace overlooking Times Square—a choice spot for viewing such events as The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or the Times Square New Year’s Eve Ceremonies!
I told many of the people who would listen about the interesting, quirky history of the structure of the Novotel New York City hotel-- originally one of many rather ordinary buildings built during the pre-1929 building boom and planned to be a skyscraper. When the market crashed, the builders slapped th…

Memories of Night of 100 Stars

My former teacher Louise Hay (You Can Heal Your Life) believes: “whatever energy we put out, we get back…the universe listens.” I’ve always had celebrity experiences because this is the energy I put out…and consequently these have become part of my tours. Years ago I obtained a job at Radio City Music Hall which led me to work on mega-charity event NIGHT OF 100 STARS and its sequels.
I was assigned to the Green Room which was rather like putting the mouse in charge of the cheese. My job was to keep the celebs happy with flattery and small talk and escort them to/from the stage, trying not to gush or drool on them. Celebs were running around backstage like giggling chorus kids getting pictures and autographs of OTHER celebrities. Radio City only has about 20 dressing rooms, so we were forced to pack them with major names. Most didn’t argue because it was for charity. I recently came across my dressing room assignment sheets and it’s a HOOT to see who we threw in together. Plea…