Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Paley Center for Media

Tim and I love television. We were kids when it was still a relatively new medium and love to regale each other with tales of life without color TV.

One of the best things (for us, at least) about living in L.A. is being so close to the entertainment industry. I grew-up in Burbank under the shadow of Warner Bros. and NBC. We now live in Culver City, where Sony Studios is king. L.A. is also home to the Paley Center for Media (formerly the Museum of Television and Radio), which holds screenings and seminars on TV shows, old and new. Their big annual event is the Paley festival—a two-week extravaganza featuring the casts of television’s hottest hits—but even more exciting are the museum’s intimate series celebrating people and shows that aren’t necessarily among Nielsen’s top ten. Last year, Karen and I attended a tribute to legendary filmmaker Robert Altman, who had his start in television, a few months before he died. We were also among the handful of fans to attend a seminar on “Nip/Tuck” before it became a cable TV phenomenon. True to his character on the show, Julian McMahon (aka Dr. Christian Troy) looked like a sculpted god.

More recently, Tim and I went to panel discussions on “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and “Friday Night Lights,” my favorite TV show du jour. Julia looked quite fetching in her vintage cocktail dress and mod hairdo; but I nearly swooned at seeing all my favorite actors from “Friday Night Lights.” I was in testosterone heaven!

I went by myself, last night, to see a special seminar on “Cane,” the CBS drama about a rich Cuban family growing sugarcane in Florida. Jimmy Smits, who stood head-and-shoulders above the rest of the cast, not only stars as the prodigal-son-turned-murderer Alex Vega, he also produces the show. Obviously, he was the main reason most of us were there. The real attraction, though, was Rita Moreno, who plays the family’s matriarch. She sashayed across the stage in her brown leather pants and gold-coin belt and generally looked fabulous. It was hard to believe that she was my mother’s neighbor when they were both growing up in NYC.

Even better yet was the Paley’s “toast” to “Mad Men,” AMC’s spot-on drama about the advertising business in 1960. Still stuck in the 1950s/60s ourselves, this is the perfect TV show for us with all its perfectly recreated mid-century furniture and wardrobe. Jon Hamm, who plays Don Draper, the advertising exec with the mysterious past, is a lot more petite in person than he is on the screen. Actresses Elisabeth Moss and Christina Hendricks were also far less voluptuous. "They must be forced to wear padding on the show," Tim kept insisting. If only the rest of us were so lucky!


No comments: