Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

Up From the Depths: Club Paris

A blogger wonders aloud: “What Happened To Club Paris?”

I remember it well. I was in town for the holidays, back before I moved here, and we were watching the NYEve coverage. Every half-hour or so, they’d cut in with a local report from Club Paris, where Paris Hilton herself was allegedly supposed to appear.

Some mid-level functionary of Orlando’s city government was standing outside with a key to the city, looking more excited than any middle-aged woman should ever look when faced with the prospect of meeting Paris Hilton.

She stood all evening, until even the news crews didn’t bother with her, and it was clear there would be no Paris in Club Paris.

That about sums up the whole project to me, right there.

I still think the Club Paris brand is a good idea–they just need to put one in Vegas to start. Preferably in the trashiest hotel on the strip.

2008 Orlando Winter Beerlympics Next Weekend

2008 Orlando Winter Beerlympics logo courtesy of Orlando Pub CrawlFor those that like to drink, or just saw way too much of movies like Beer Fest, this one may appeal to you:

Next weekend, on Saturday, Feb 23rd, Orlando Pub Crawl and Orlando Sport and Social Club present the 2008 Orlando Winter Beerlympics at the Wall St. Plaza downtown.

Teams of 4 members will compete against each other in events like Flip Cup, Beer Pong, and Speed Quarters for the chance to win $500 and bragging rights. Earn extra points for creative team uniforms.

Entry fees are $80 per team if you register together or you can buy and individual registration online in advance for $23.86 or $25 at the door and be placed on a team. The fee gets you unlimited Miller Lite draft all night and free cover to all of the Wall St. Plaza properties. If you just want to watch, normal cover to the WSP applies and you pay for your own drinks.

For more details or to sign up your team, visit the Orlando Pub Crawl website, where you’ll also find info on next month’s “Revenge of the Nerds”-themed pub crawl. I may have to do that one.

Play Rock Band on Valentine’s Day; Lose Love, Win Money

If you’re a pasty-skinned video game nerd who would like an excuse to hook up with that honey in your WoW guild who lives up the street, then perhaps the event below is for you. Also, if you’re cool and own an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 and Rock Band, you might also like it. Me, I’m still making do with my NES emulator, so I’ll pass.

However, were the fine people at MTV, Virgin, or 1up willing to send me a fly new video game system and Rock Band set for free, I would happily attend, and would also play it every day, and write about it lovingly, as though it were a blood relation–a cousin, or my mother.

(I will say on a slightly serious note that it is a little surprising and a little neat that Orlando makes a list alongside New York and Los Angeles as the only three American cities where two major media conglomerates are choosing to hold a large promotional event.)

MTV Games, Virgin Megastore, and 1up.com have joined forces to bring you the I Love Rock Band Valentine’s Day Bash!

Valentine’s Day has never been better! Mark your calendar for February 13th as MTV Games, Virgin Megastores, and 1up.com present you the exclusive I Love Rock Band Valentine’s Day Bash! Do you think your Rock Band band is ready to rule the world? Are you ready to take your living room show to the masses?! Then sign up for the ultimate Rock Band tournament and compete to win a Rock Band Gaming Prize Package, including a $500 Virgin gift card and other sweet prizes!

Sign-ups begin on February 6th at the Virgin Megastores in Orlando, Florida; Union Square, New York City; and Hollywood & Highland, Los Angeles. Check out http://virgin.1up.com for more information.

Main Event Location & Information:

Virgin Megastore Orlando Walt Disney World Resort
1494 Buena Vista Drive
Feb 13th At 12 Noon
Sign-Ups Start Feb 6th
1st Prize: $500 Virgin Gift Card + Other Cool Prizes

America’s Got Talent Auditions Orlando

americas got talent logo and judgesLast year, one of the biggest reality TV shows was NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” where judges David Hasselhoff, Sharon Osbourne and Piers Morgan whittled down thousands of contestants before the show let the TV viewers decide the outcome. Did you watch the show thinking, “I could win that million dollars easy!”

Well, you might get a shot since the series is coming to Orlando on January 26th to audition for season three contestants.

What are they looking for? Anything, really, as last season’s top twenty included everything from dog tricks to musicians to the grand prize winner, ventriloquist Terry Fator. Basically, if you are good and can stand out from the rest, you have a shot.

You must pre-register on the “America’s Got Talent” website to receive a time slot during the auditions, which will be held at the Royal Plaza Hotel at Walt Disney World. And if you can’t make it to the in-person auditions, the site also has info on how to audition via a video submission.

So if you think you have a talent worth a $1 million, I say go for it. If you do audition, drop us a line here at Metroblogging Orlando and let us know how it went.

Get Ready for FX Show 2008

fx2008-logo.jpgThough it’s hit some rough patches over the years, I have to admit last year’s FX Show seemed to be on the right track to being an enjoyable fan convention. Bringing together various actors from movie and TV, along with comic book creators and row after row of dealer’s tables, the event aims to offer a little bit of something to everyone with an inner geek.

This year’s event has been set for later this month, running the weekend of January 25th through 27th at the Orange County Convention Center, and I’m quite excited over the line-up of guests they have scheduled.

The Whedonverse (a term coined for writer-director Joss Whedon’s projects) is represented by Nathan Fillion (Capt. Mal from “Firefly” & Caleb on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”; also recent episodes of “Desperate Housewives”), Nicholas Brendon (Xander on “Buffy”) and Elisabeth Rohm (Kate on “Angel” and an alum of “Law & Order”). Also present will be the incomparable George Takei (Sulu on the original “Star Trek”), who joins fellow “Heroes” actors Greg Grunberg (Officer Matt Parkman) and Stephen Tobolowsky (Bob).

Others rating high on my personal interest meter are Ray Parks (Star Wars and a dozen other sci-fi/horror films), Ellen Muth (“Dead Like Me”) and Zoe Bell (Tarantino’s Death Proof from the Grindhouse anthology film). In fact, there are way too many actors to list here, not to mention all of the comic creators that will be in attendance.

General admission day passes are $15 for Friday and $20 for Saturday or Sunday. Weekend passes start at $45 for general admission, with Deluxe and VIP weekend passes that include options ranging from reserved seating at panels to free autographs/photos, starting at $90. One child pass (for age 5 and under) is included with every adult pass purchased, with additional passes $5 for each child. Unless included in a VIP pass, autographs from the celebrities will run an additional $20 and up per signature and photo ops will set you back $35 or more. Admission into the question and answer panels is included with every pass, but seating is first come, first served.

For more information, a full guest list or to purchase advance tickets, visit fxshow.com. Anybody else going?

To whet your appetite, here are some shots I took at the 2007 FX Show:
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Tourist Claptrap: Star Wars, Haunted Foyers, and More

It’s Gonna Be Tattooine Hot: The 2008 Star Wars Weekends may take place in June again this year, which as Steven Ford suggests over at the Sentinel’s Theme Park Rangers blog, is gonna be rough for the Empire:

It will be interesting to later learn how that date will or won’t affect the gate numbers. Does anyone here care much whether it’s May or June when you don your 20-lb. Stormtrooper outfit?

Haunted Mansion Goes (Sorta) PC: The great Jim Hill over at Jim Hill Media reports that the days of each Disney cast member putting their unique spin on working at the Haunted Mansion will soon be coming to an end. Instead of the loosely-formatted improv delivered by butlers and maids (“Drag your bodies to the DEAD center of the room,” etc.) the cast members working the attraction will now have a strict script to follow and even some acting coaching and blocking to go with it.

Outlet Stores In The Stream: The Dixie Stampede property has been picked up by Chelsea Property Group, owner of Orlando Premium Outlets, according to the OBJ:

But at least one local retail expert believes the smart move would be to build more upscale outlet shops there. “That particular outlet mall is really strong, and expanding it makes a lot of sense,” says Jack Liberty, president of Liberty Universal Management, which manages nearly 7 million square feet of retail space in Central Florida.

(I am now officially OUT of Dolly Parton-related puns, so I hope this story goes quiet soon. Not that the handful I’ve offered have been any great shakes–today was a REAL reach.)

Farewell MGM, Hello Hollywood: In case you haven’t made it over yet in the new year, LaughingPlace.com has some images up of the new rebranded Disney’s Hollywood Studios, formerly Disney-MGM Studios.

Jamlando Held Hostage: The 105.9 Saga Continues

As of this morning, when my iPod dongle’s batteries died and so I foraged forth into the wastelands of Orlando FM radio, 105.9 was still airing its “History of Rock ‘n’ Roll” syndicated pre-recorded series.

I’m never sure what the thinking is behind these “breaks” between formats…there was a station back when I lived in Chicago that played “American Pie” on repeat for a day or two when it changed formats, and I remember another station (maybe here in Orlando?) that did the same with “Hey Jude.”

Why not just switch formats and be done with it? Do our Benevolent Media Conglomerate Overlords not realize that there are bootys upon bootys across this fair city waiting to once again be shaken in a manner akin to that of a Polaroid picture???

More as this critical story develops.

Tourist Claptrap: Dolly, Russia, and Forgotten Florida

No More Cokes of Many Colors: As John from The Disney Blog pointed out in the comments on my last post, Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede has abruptly shuttered its Orlando location. Which is sad enough by itself–I personally mourn the loss deeply, and slept a fitful sleep last night while cradling my plastic boot-shaped mug–but the abrupt nature of the closing just adds salt to the wound:

A recording left on the main telephone number says the country star’s dinner-show theater “has ceased operations.”

Just a telephone recording? Damn, that’s cold. Why you gotta be like that, Dolly?

In Russia, Tacky Souvenirs Buy You: Jim Hill has a rumor that Russia may be coming to Epcot’s World Showcase.

Truly Lost Attractions: More on lost, abandoned, and obscure area tourist attractions (and just plain cool stuff) at the excellent Florida Everyone Forgot site. Those Ginger Ale Springs are right by my in-laws; I’ll have to check those out soon.

If only they cascaded sweet, crisp, ginger ale instead of warm, fresh water…

Beyond Disney

So I’m pretty new here–about a year and a half under my belt as an Orlandonian (or is it just “Orlandan”?)–and I don’t know much about the details of the area yet, especially its many fine obscure entertainment offerings.

But my family did come down here pretty often on vacations throughout my life, and we were pretty much Disney diehards.

Looks like I was missing out. John Frost over at The Disney Blog suggests supporting some of the region’s more obscure attractions, or else they may go away when times are tight:

Disney, Universal, and SeaWorld are better able to absorb these lean periods, but the smaller attractions (like Gatorland, Cypress Gardens, and the Citrus Tower) really struggle to keep the gates open and keep their facilities fully staffed. Back In the day these smaller attractions served as inspiration for the larger theme parks to come. Like the three listed above, they were here long before Walt Disney brought change to the area. I hope they’ll be here for decades to come as well.

Ultimate Orlando has a handy list.

Like I said, this is totally unexplored territory to me, but I have an urge to try and sneak away some Saturday and visit a totally forgotten, underrated Orlando-area tourist attraction. Any suggestions?

Bye Bye, Miss 105.9…

Let me start with a bit of old-fashioned honesty: I absolutely HATE Orlando radio.

I know that’s probably a common sentiment, because out of all the residents with whom I have discussed Orlando radio to date, not one of them has said, “I love Orlando radio,” or even “I like Orlando radio.” You either hate it, like me, or you tolerate it, like a fly in your ear.

There are bright spots, to be sure, but they’re few and far between. And what’s most astonishing about the awful radio here in Orlando is that there’s SO DAMN MUCH OF IT. I’ve lived in other major cities where finding a clearish FM band for my iPod tuner doohickey was relatively simple; here, every damn station has some moron glutting the skies with gibberish, bad music, or lots of both.

Having said all that, I will sorta miss O-Rock 105.9, which is apparently changing formats. Their “Nooner” lunch hour offered a slim hope that I would actually hear a song that a) I enjoyed and b) hadn’t been played into oblivion by one of Orlando’s other radio stations. Now, the Nooner is no more.

From the looks of the new holding page, I’d guess the new format is Latin something, but that’s just a hunch. We’ll soon see. My radio presets are getting emptier and emptier.

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