Are you tired of paying exorbitant fees for hotel rooms? Are you ready to follow your own itinerary and go off on a road trip? If so, investing in a travel trailer / caravan, or motorhome (also known as an RV for Recreational Vehicle) could be a good choice for you. With more young people discovering the joys of caravanning, the unrivaled convenience of a second home-on-wheels has seen bookings surge in recent months. Continue reading Travel Trailer vs. Motorhome: Which is Best For You?
To many, comedian and actor John Belushi still feels like a contemporary artist — owing to the tenacity with which his work has embedded itself in pop culture — but the fact is that Belushi has been dead for a long time. A friend who accompanied me to the opening-night performance of a new play entitled With a Little Help . . . It’s John Belushi wasn’t quite two years old in March of 1982, when the hard-partying performer died of an accidental drug overdose in a Hollywood hotel room. But while she wasn’t even born yet when John Belushi broke comedic ground during the first incarnation of Saturday Night Live, and probably didn’t see Animal House until it had been in the can for 20 years, my friend has a conversational knowledge of all his best bits. That’s what it means to be a legend.
The story behind The Rise and Fall of John Belushi is seriously overdue for a stage or screen adaptation, and playwright/actor Jack Zullo — who fully embodies Belushi’s manic energy and uncompromising spirit in the title role — admits that it’s been over thirteen years since he was first inspired to work on John Belushi as a character study, and immersed himself in the comedian’s material. What started out as a spec feature film script evolved into this current stage production of With A Little Help . . . It’s John Belushi, which was previously honed through multiple West Coast performances. With a goal of finding a place in the NYC theater scene, Zullo aspires to reverse-engineer the play back into a feature-length script to tell the story of John’s life in narrative form; something that has been attempted by many, but not successfully executed.
With a Little Help opens quietly on a scene in the bungalow at the Chateau Marmont where John Belushi spent his final moments of life, having just fatally overdosed on a combination of heroin and cocaine. As he collapses on a mattress and takes his last breath, a chorus of disembodied voices ring out in the theater, admonishing the reckless thirty-three-year-old for being such a “dumb sonofabitch.” But the tragic tone quickly segues into a high-energy flashback of John, accompanied by his girlfriend Judy and best friend Steve, on a night in 1967 when he attended his first comedy show at Chicago’s The Second City club. John is visibly bursting with creative inspiration as he declares that he has found his life’s calling and intends to pursue a career in comedy.
From there, we follow John Belushi’s rise to prominence as an iconic American entertainer; working his way up from an indie college performer in 1968, to Manhattan in the mid-1970s, where he was part of the infamous National Lampoon Magazine and its Radio Hour, all the way through his four-year stint as one of the Not Ready For Prime Time Players on Saturday Night Live.
The story of Belushi’s quick ascent to pop culture success shines the spotlight on his struggles to maintain control on the excesses afforded a budding star, counterbalanced with his desire to always be ahead of the curve by keeping the work fresh and exciting, and setting trends rather than following them. With a Little Help effectively revisits a time in American TV when the field of comedy was a Wild West for creative invention. John Belushi’s career was a wild ride while it lasted, but it’s not like we don’t already know how the journey ends.
With a Little Help takes its title from the now-legendary Saturday Night Live skit in which Belushi gives an over-the-top impersonation of British singer Joe Cocker’s eccentrically-mannered performance of The Beatles’ “With a Little Help From My Friends.” This skit is recreated in the play, as are musical numbers made famous by The Blues Brothers — Belushi’s band with Dan Aykroyd. The production features the terrific Crazy Tomes Band, who provide a live soundtrack, accompanying the many musical numbers in the show, and playing a set of covers before the play starts.
In addition to the great live music, With a Little Help truly becomes a multi-media production, as it incorporates both newly-produced and archival film and video clips, which further the action in ways that would otherwise be impossible, such as when John and friends experience an LSD trip, or when SNL cast members indulge in drug binges that history tells us were common on that set.
The play’s supporting cast of characters includes John Belushi’s devoted wife Judy Jacklin (Jennifer Lieberman, who also appears as Gilda Radner), as well as a who’s who of the comedian ‘friends’ who supported, collaborated with, and cajoled Belushi on his path to fame, such as the National Lampoon’s Tony Hendra (Len Rella), Christopher Guest (Benjamin Batchelder), Brian Murray (Artie Brennan, who also play’s Belushi’s close friend Steve Beshekas), Joe Flaherty (Nicolas Dipierro, who also appears as Lorne Michaels) and Dan Aykroyd, portrayed brilliantly by Keith Saltojanes. All the actors are excellent in their handling of multiple roles, but Jack Zullo as Belushi is so spot-on in his timing and physical comedy, I forgot multiple times that I was watching an actor and not Belushi himself.
John Belushi did not get to live a long life. It’s tragic that his comedic legacy also includes the bleak Hollywood cliche of self-destructive behavior, but With a Little Help . . . It’s John Belushi is less a cautionary tale and more a celebration of and homage to a phenomenally talented individual whose body of work has been, and will continue to be, endlessly influential. Funny, smart, and deeply nostalgia-inducing, With a Little Help . . . It’s John Belushi is a story whose time is now.
Directed by Levy Lee Simon With a Little Help . . . It’s John Belushi runs through December 22nd only at Theatre 80, located at 80 St. Marks Place, in NYC’s East Village. Tickets are super affordable at just $30 — $40 and are available via With a Little Help Show Dot Com. Showtimes are Thursdays at 7 PM, Fridays & Saturdays at 7 PM and 10 PM, and Sunday Matinees at 3 PM. A portion of ticket sales from the Theatre 80 run will be donated to The Comedians Assistance Fund and Gilda’s Club charities.
Watch The Trailer Below:
Hey, do you like Burritos? I sure do. One of my favorite places to get a fresh and tasty Burrito here in Manhattan is Moe’s Southwest Grill, where they have a maverick, Rock & Roll attitude to go with their amazing Mexican food. You don’t have to sell me on how good it is; I’ve tasted it! And just last week, I was invited to dine in a mobile Moe’s restaurant-on-wheels as part of their limited-time promotion, Tour de Burrito, which was due to make a two-day stop in downtown NYC on the way to its final destination in Tampa, FL. Oh Boy!
Moe’s Tour de Burrito was an exclusive, traveling restaurant experience that visited select eastern US cities from November 2nd to 10th, giving burrito lovers a front row seat to see what happens behind the counter at Moe’s. Since they’re traveling, they needed to get some Cheap Campervan Insurance to be covered all over the country. After their tour they had to use this Motor Trade Industry: Buying & Selling Trends to help sell their old van and buy a new one. If you want to do this tour by yourself, make sure you buy a car like this used Jaguar XF. Being the Freshest Reservation in Town, all dates sold out in 45 minutes, with a few additional spots given to fans on Moe’s FaceBook page. Those who made it onto the truck got to collaborate with Moe’s culinary team to customize the freshest burrito, or burrito bowl, of their dreams, and to try never-before-tasted seasonal salsas that really brought the heat! Once I was given the super-secret address, it was easy to find the Tour de Burrito Truck parked in a lot on Broome Street, which just happened to also be the home of This Awesome Mural. It was truly an exclusive experience, and I have the photos to prove it! People even bought cars from CarSite Network just to drive over.
Let’s step inside the truck!
The Tour de Burrito truck seats groups of 10 at a time for a one-on-one experience with the Moe’s culinary team! The first thing to do once I was seated was to customize my meal by composing the Burrito of my heart’s desire from list of fresh ingredients. Fun!
Few outside the Moe’s inner circle get to see what they do in every restaurant, every day, but Tour de Burrito guests even got to watch their burrito being rolled — talk about mad skills!
Mmm…Carnitas Burrito. So Yummy.
Guests in the truck also got to be among the first to taste two new seasonal Moe’s salsas: Ghostujang (made with bright red Ghost Peppers seen above) and Ahhhhhvocado, a tangy salsa verde made with fresh ripe avocado.
Ghost Peppers are a little hot for my taste (read: like eat fire) but the Avocado/Salsa Verde blend of Ahhhhhvocado was so my thing. I had to slather it on my burrito after every bite!
This little boy, dining with his parents and little sister, made the most hilarious faces while attempting to tackle a huge Burrito.
I believe he eventually surrendered and switched to a bowl. Burrito: 1. Child: 0.
Everyone got a bag of freshly made Moe’s tortilla chips and jar of fresh Ahhhhhvocado salsa to take home! Thank you Moe’s Tour de Burrito for a fun time!
Find out more about Moe’s Southwest Grill, locate a Moe’s in your hood and sign up for the Rockin Rewards program (to earn free food!) at Moes Dot Com!
All Images Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures
If you enjoy the slow reveal of a real-life mystery that unfolds with greater intrigue and a higher ‘WTF’ factor than the most oblique, multi-layered David Fincher script, then Author: The JT LeRoy Story is your wet dream of a documentary film. Author is the true story of wunderkind picaresque novelist JT LeRoy and the elaborate machinations behind the facade that disguised the Literary Hoax of the Century. Because, despite being one of the most popular and critically lauded writers of an entire decade (1996 to 2006), JT LeRoy never existed: he was merely an elaborate persona created by author Laura Albert to take credit for stories she wrote from the perspective of an emotionally and psychologically traumatize teenage boy.
Hey what’s up. Do you happen to be a fan of the legendary rock band Kiss? It’s OK to admit it. Even though Gene Simmons is the Donald Trump of Rock, there are no judgments here. But if that is the case, then you may want to know that for one night only, Wednesday, May 25th at 7:00 PM, Fathom Events will bring KISS to the big screen for an explosive event in KISS Rocks Vegas, a live concert film that no fan will want to miss.