Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It's like my own version of the movie BEACHES...

I guess friendships are hard to define when you're nine-years old. You don't really have problems to share, or anything too deep to talk about. You probably can't even talk about your favorite books or movies. Friendship back then was sitting at the same lunch table and, if you're really lucky, living near each other so you can ride the school bus together.

My best friend up to the third grade lived in Battery Park, and I lived near the South Street, we weren't on the same school bus...but we somehow did manage to form a best friendship (whatever that is in the third grade!)

She moved to California at the end of the third grade. (I still was the day of our spring recital. We were practicing on stage, and she was just watching us.

I moved myself that summer, and for a long time, we wrote letters back-and-forth.

(I honestly miss writing letters.)

We sadly stopped after a while, and it's been a good ten years since we corresponded.

However, thanks to social networking sites, I tracked-down my first best friend...just before she was planning her first trip to New York City since she left.

It made me laugh to think that now we're exchanging text messages...when we used to write each other actual letters, with stamps and all.

My coworkers were confused when I told them I was taking a break yesterday because my best friend from the third grade was waiting for me outside.

"Is this a third grade reuniont?"
"So you haven't seen her since?"

Over cups of coffee instead of cartons of chocolate milk, we caught-up...and seventeen years is a lot to catch-up on.

And when we were walking together, I noticed that we were almost the same exact height...whenever we had to line-up for size order in class, we were always next to each other...that hasn't changed!

I have a very strong feeling that had we remained in the same state all these years, we would have remained the best of friends.

Diana Rissetto

And the official song of 2009 will be...

..."Hold On" by Wilson Phillips.

(Yes, I know, that song came out in 1990.)

(Sidenote...I used to love this movie Chynna Phillips was in which was always aired on The Disney Channel. It was called Goodbye, Miss Fourth of July and was about this Greek girl who comes to America, faces prejudices, dies and is posthumously named the town's Miss Fourth of July. Sadly, this movie is not available on DVD, since I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who has ever seen it.)

I remember shortly after I began working at Barnes and Noble, I said something about the "Self-Help Section" to Danny, a young fellow who started working there the same week I did and would go on to become one of my closest Barnes and Noble comrades.

Danny paused and said, "This SONG is the Self-Help Section."

"Hold On" was playing.

Six months after that day, the song came on just as Danny and I were talking in the Humor Section.

Me: Remember when this song came on, and you said, "This SONG is the Self-Help section?"

Danny: I do remember that!

Me: Wow, that was six months ago!

Danny: Six months. That's, like, 1/40th of our lives...

(I know that sounds impressive, but but was easy to do that math...we were about 20 years old.)

That song always brings back memories of my early days at the bookstore...but I never listened to the words before until it came on the radio last night.

I realized I like the lyrics of this song a lot, and might just have to listen to it when times get tough. I tend to get upset too easily, and worry too much about things I can't change.

You just have to keep going-on...because you never know when something wonderful is going to happen.

"Hold On"

I know this pain
Why do lock yourself up in these chains?
No one can change your life except for you
Don't ever let anyone step all over you
Just open your heart and your mind
Is it really fair to feel this way inside?

Some day somebody's gonna make you want to
Turn around and say goodbye
Until then baby are you going to let them
Hold you down and make you cry
Don't you know?
Don't you know things can change
Things'll go your way
If you hold on for one more day
Can you hold on for one more day
Things'll go your way
Hold on for one more day

You could sustain
Or are you comfortable with the pain?
You've got no one to blame for your unhappiness
You got yourself into your own mess
Lettin' your worries pass you by
Don't you think it's worth your time
To change your mind?


I know that there is pain
But you hold on for one more day and
Break free the chains
Yeah I know that there is pain
But you hold on for one more day and you
Break free, break from the chains

Some day somebody's gonna make you want to
Turn around and say goodbye
Until then baby are you going to let them
Hold you down and make you cry
Don't you know?
Don't you know things can change
Things'll go your way
If you hold on for one more day yeah
If you hold on

Don't you know things can change
Things'll go your way
If you hold on for one more day,
If you hold on
Can you hold on
Hold on baby
Won't you tell me now
Hold on for one more day 'Cause
It's gonna go your way

Don't you know things can change
Things'll go your way
If you hold on for one more day
Can't you change it this time

Make up your mind
Hold on
Hold on

Diana Rissetto

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Interfering with Fate...

The other night, I went out to dinner with an old friend from high school.

She was one of my close friends back then, but we lost touch over the years.

Thanks to the magic of Facebook, we were able to reconnect and met-up when she came home for the holidays.

We got onto the topic of, "Everybody around us is getting married and it's kinda freaky and we're not even meeting any guys of interest! What's up with that!"

(For the record, I have absolutely no interest in getting married any time soon. I am not in any hurry, and the next time anybody makes a comment hinting that I should be panicking about it, I'm going to throw their shoes in a lake.)

I asked her if she tried online dating at all.

(I am notoriously shy...yes, I am...nobody ever believes me when I say it seemed as good a way as any to meet people...especially since I always have felt that I express myself best in writing.)

She shook her head and said, "I feel like when it's right, the universe will provide...and I don't want to interfere with that."

Okay, now, I have always been one to look for "signs."

When I was a senior in high school, I went to a psychic at my post-prom party (and I am sure they have nothing but the most authentic psychics at post-prom parties!) and he told me that I was just months away from meeting "the one", and that when I DID meet "the one", he'd have light hair and double initials.

I took that to heart, and when I met a guy with light hair and double initals months later...I was certain I didn't have to search anymore.

(Even though I was only about nineteen at that point, and hadn't looked much.)

I thought that was my sign! I thought that was it!

(This seems a good a time as any to mention this story... I always loved this story, ever since I read it in a Chicken Soup for the Soul book years ago...I think it was Chicken Soup for the Old-Fashioned Hopeless Romantics that own West Highland White Terriers Soul.
I thought about my friend's comment for a while after and wondered just how true it was. This was one of those stories that genuinely made me believe in the "universe providing." Yes, I AM disappointed that the story isn't true...but at the same time, they DID find each other, even if it wasn't by way of the "apple story" and are still together after all these years. The hopeless romantic in me still finds something incredibly inspiring about this couple regardless...)

Maybe we shouldn't interfere with fate...but where do you draw the line?

How come internet dating is considered interfering with fate, but nobody says that to girls who go out and find their next boyfriends in bars? (Something I am, pretty sure, I would never do.)

We could hardly sit on the sidewalk and wait for a guy to fall-out of the sky.

I have a feeling that fate always finds a way.

Maybe your soulmate is out there on an online dating site, but joined on a whim and you're the only person he even contacted.

Maybe you're both at the same bar because you were dragged by your separate friends.

Maybe you start talking on the train one day because it's the one day you didn't have time to buy a newspaper.

And to quote Amy in the 1994 film version of Little Women, "You don't need scores of only need one...if he's the right one!"

And maybe we all should just not worry at all and trust the universe...

Diana Rissetto

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Holiday Clip of the Day...

December 26th is my least favorite day of the year.

Christmas goes away much too abruptly.

For a whole month, Lifetime plays nothing but Falalala Lifetime movies...and then on December 26th, it's back to regular-old "Give Me Back My Baby" films. (Not that I have anything against "Give Me Back My Baby" films.)

106.7 Light FM has twenty-four hours of Christmas songs from Thanksgiving until Christmas night...and then, just like that, we're back to "Sometimes When We Touch" and "Love Lifts Us Up."

Even that streetcorner saxophone player...he's been playing "Auld Lang Syne" and "Joy to the World" for a month...the day after Christmas? He's back to playing "My Way."

It's sad.

I think they should slowly wean us off of Christmas movies and music, and then not stop completely until, oh, say...February.

I was probably the only kid in the world who used to feel sad on Christmas Eve because I knew that Christmas would soon be over.

Here's a song from one of my favorites ever...Christmas Eve on Sesame seems a very appropriate way to end my "Holiday Clip of the Day" series.

Keep Christmas with you...

Diana Rissetto

When Christmas time is over and presents put away, don't be sad
There'll be so much to treasure about this Christmas day and the fun we've had
So may happy feelings to celebrate with you
And, oh, the good times hurry by so fast,
But even when it's over there's something you can do to make Christmas last

Keep Christmas with you
All through the year,
When Christmas is over,
You can keep it near.
Think of this Christmas day
When Christmas is far away.

Keep Christmas with you
All through the year,
When Christmas is over,
Save some Christmas cheer.
These precious moments,
Hold them very dear
And keep Christmas with you
All through the year.

Christmas means the spirit of giving
Peace and joy to you,
The goodness of loving,
The gladness of living;
These are Christmas too.

So, keep Christmas with you
All through the year,
When Christmas is over,
Save some Christmas cheer.
These precious moments,
Hold them very dear
And keep Christmas with you
All through the year.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Holiday Clip of the Day...

So many versions of A Christmas little time.

I remember my father telling me that when we were little and my parents would wrap our gifts and put them out on Christmas Eve, he'd always watch A Christmas Carol on PBS. I'm pretty sure it was the superold A Christmas Carol...the one with the actress who played Lassie's mother (June Lockhart...but it's more fun to call her the actress who played Lassie's mother...)as one of Bob Crachit's daughters.

My father was one to stick with the classics...and I am sure I take after him in that respect, but I also love to give other things a chance.

And I have learned that there are just not enough days in December to fit in all these different A Christmas Carols.

Today, I watched the George C. Scott 1984 version. I think it is my favorite one (at the moment.) Now, that guy was one brilliant actor.

If you're looking for A Christmas Carol it all its purest, most authentic glory...I believe the George C. one is it.

HOWEVER...that doesn't mean that Scrooges which totally march to the tune of their own (little) drummer (boy) aren't just as darn entertaining.

Here's Susan Lucci as Ebbie...

Tori Spelling in A Carol Christmas...(okay, no offense to anybody...but this movie makes Ebbie look like Citizen Kane.)

Vanessa Williams in A Diva's Christmas Carol...

Michael Caine in A Muppet Christmas Carol!!!!

(Kermit's little nephew Robin was absolutely BRILLIANT as Tiny Tim in this one. Seriously just astounding!)

Patrick Stewart as Scrooge...

Mr. Magoo!!!!

The Disney Gang (I had this in picture book form...the book played music when you opened it. It eventually fell apart.)

Merry Christmas to all...and to all a good night...

(I am watching It's a Wonderful Life right now...Harry is about to say, "To my big brother George...the richest man in town..." and Diana is about to break down in tears like she has every single one of the thousands of times she has watched this movie over the years.)

I truly love this time of year...

Diana Rissetto

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holiday Clip of the Day...

When I was a kid, I was certain that life truly began at thirteen.

When I turned thirteen, I would be allowed to wander the streets of New York City all by myself.

I would have a very sensitive and sweet boyfriend who would pick me up for dates in a horse-drawn carriage.

I'd attend school dances where the guys would wear tuxedos.

I would be trusted with taking care of infant twins all by myself.

I blame The Baby-Sitters Club. From the second grade to the fifth, I read every single BSC book that came-out. (And I'm pretty sure that, at its peak, about sixteen books came-out a month. I recently learned that a lot of those books were ghostwritten. A little part of me died when I learned that...damn you, Ann M. Martin!!!!!)

Those girls from Stoneybrook knew how to live!

I am pretty sure they set-up an entire generation of girls up for a lifetime of disappointment. They had more exciting lives at thirteen than I do now in my (cough) mid-to-late-twenties. I am yet to be stranded on an island, and have never won the lotto, either.

True fans of the BSC would tell you that the Baby-Sitters Club television series didn't quite capture the magic of the books.

However, that didn't stop us from watching it.

Here's the series' holiday special.

It is on YouTube in its entirety.


Diana Rissetto

Monday, December 22, 2008

Holiday Clip of the Day...

Not long ago, I ran into Peter Cincotti...the supertalented, superadorable singer-musician-songwriter Peter a concert, and all I could think to discuss with him was how the world would be a better place if he would only record a holiday album.

(Whatever, if somebody said that to me, I'd take it as the ultimate compliment.)

He kept hitting me in the arm and laughing.

(He was either superamused or superuncomfortable. Perhaps a bit of both.)

However, since then, although he has not recorded a Christmas album, he DID perform at the NYSE tree lighting, AND today he sent this YouTube message out to all of his fans...

Now, I find it very hard to believe that, for the briefest second, "Wow, that lunatic who kept rambling to me about how much I need to do a Christmas CD will probably like this..." didn't cross Peter's mind!

And a very Merry Christmas to you, too, Peter.

Diana Rissetto

Holiday Clip of the Day...

Cheyenne Jackson has been eligible for the Tony Award for Leading Actor in a Musical twice...and twice he was sadly overlooked.

I was especially disappointed and surprised when he wasn't nominated for his portrayal of the clueless but lovable Sonny Malone in last year's surprise hit, Xanadu.

I knew I was going to be en route to work when the nominations came-out, and had a couple of people on call to ring me and let me know.

My train broke down, and I received many cellphone calls and text messages saying, "Sorry about your boy."

I was sorry about my boy...and he is "my boy", and I'm tremendously proud and excited for him no matter what turns his career takes and decisions he makes...but, not going to lie...a Tony nomination would have been fun for everybody.

(However, I think the fact that he was not nominated made his knock-out performance at the Tony Awards all the more fantastic.

It was like he was saying, "Well...I know you didn't put me in the running for a Tony...but, goshdarnit, LOOK WHAT I CAN DO!")

Regardless of his lack of Tony nominations, I think Cheyenne Jackson shows-off some PHENOMENAL acting skills in this year's [title of show] show Christmas episode.

Honestly, his portrayal as the crazed attempted murderer is worthy of a Tony!

And an Oscar!

And an Emmy!

Look at the crazy in that guy's eyes!

I think we've found the lead of Ted Bundy: The Musical!

And anybody who knows Cheyenne knows that he's one of the nicest guys in the watching him try to kill an innocent puppet like Mindy is all the more disturbing and impressive!

Bravo, Sir!!!!!!

(Might I add that I love everybody involved with [title of show]. I think Hunter Bell and I would totally be best friends...sorry, Kate Winslet...given the chance.)

Here is the HILARIOUS webisode...with cameos by Laura Benanti, Stephen Pasquale, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Celia Keenan-Bolger and, of course, Cheyenne Jackson.

Diana Rissetto

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Holiday Clip of the Day...

I WAS going to wait until Christmas Eve or Christmas Day to discuss It's a Wonderful Life, but since I saw it on the big screen last night, it's on my mind and I'd like to talk about it now.

Don't get me wrong, I truly love this movie. I have watched it about a dozen times a December for as long as I can remember. I know it by heart, and laugh and cry every single time I see it. I've gone to see it onstage, in musical and straight play versions, and my family even used to have a minature porcelain Bedford Falls village.

(And I don't trust people who have never seen it and/or don't like it.)

However, when I saw it at the movie theatre last night, one part jumped-out at me that I never really noticed before.

You know when Joseph is running down what happened to everybody during World War II?

Harry... Harry Bailey topped them all. A Navy flier, he shot down fifteen planes.

George later realzes that had he never been born, he never would have been able to have saved his brother from drowning when they were kids, and Harry never would have been able to save all the men on his transport.


I started to think about all the guys on those fifteen planes.

Had George never been born, Harry wouldn't have been around to shoot down all those planes, and all the guys on those planes would have survived.

(Didn't they have wonderful lives as well?)

It kind of reminded me of this...
Frank Sinatra is teaching those kids about tolerance, and does so by telling them that the "Japs" were bombed by an American plane flown by Jewish-American and Christian-Americans.

(Gosh, he was so cute.)

I am going to start working on a movie about those fifteen planes.

I'll call it What if George Bailey had Never Been Born and Wasn't Able to Save His Brother and His Brother Was Never Able to Shoot Down Those Fifteen Planes

I leave you with the most romantic scene from any movie ever...and all they had to do was kiss.

Where HAVE all the George Baileys gone?

Diana Rissetto

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Holiday Clip of the Day...

One of the multitudes of wonderful things about being in New YorK City is that you NEVER know just what random TV star from old TV shows you'll pass in the street.

Just this past year, I have been stopped by Donny Osmond while dog-walking.

He commented on how beautiful the dog was (who wasn't my personal dog, but my office's I allowed to accept a compliment like that for a dog that isn't mine? Same with people saying my niece is adorable when they see her picture on my desk...I don't feel right saying, "Thank you"), and asked me what breed she was.

(Guess he has Puppy Love. Haha. Sorry.)

I replied, "No idea. She is a mutt."

By the time he walked away, I realized who he was. He and his teenage son darted across the street before the light changed.

And Richard Thomas (who I'll always be fond of, since I enjoyed him on reruns of The Waltons because his character was an aspiring writer!) held a door open for me and said, "Are you coming?"

I then started humming the theme from The Waltons, and he kicked me in the shin and ran away.

(No, he didn't. He's actually very nice.)

I see him all the time, and we're on "Hello" basis now.

(And this is out of place to talk about here, since it was one of my most exciting celebrity sightings of all-time, but last year I saw Jonathan Crombie of the Anne of Green Gables miniseries, in Duane Reade. Now, Gilbert Blythe has been my romantic ideal since I was about seven.)

A couple of days ago, I passed Barry Williams (Greg Brady of Brady Bunch fame!)in the street.

We've had horrible weather this past week, and he was struggling with an umbrella, like we all were.

Yes, even Greg Brady gets disheveled in sleet.

The first thing I thought when I saw Barry Williams in the street, after, "Hey, I think that's Barry Williams with that umbrella over there!" was, "I haven't watched A Very Brady Christmas yet! Thanks for reminding me of that, Barry Williams!"

A Very Brady Christmas is a staple in my must-watch Christmas movies.

The Brady Kids all come home for Christmas...and they all have secrets!

And then Mr. Brady gets called to work and a building collapses on him.

Of course, the proper thing to do when your dad/husband/grandpa/father-in-law is trapped under a building is to start singing "O Come All Ye Faithful."

Diana Rissetto

Monday, December 15, 2008

Holiday Clip of the Day...

There are certain things I can't watch, because they make me think about my father and cry all over the place.

Bert and Ernie singing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" is one of them.

I was absolutely a Sesame Street child, and I have always said that if I am ever a celebrity, the first guest appearance I will make on anything will be Sesame Street.

(Ben Stiller won me over for life when he was dancing around dressed as a giant chunk of cheese singing "The People in Your Neighborhood.")

The Muppets and the holidays go together quite well.

In Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, Big Bird wonders how Santa Claus can possibly get down that chimney...Cookie Monster tries to tell Santa Claus what to bring him for Christmas...and then there's Bert and Ernie's subplot.

(I still don't understand how old these Muppets are supposed to be. They go to school sometimes, but they also have their own apartment. Of course they can't afford Christmas presents...they don't have jobs and are paying rent. And Bert has a freaking pigeon in the apartment.)

Bert trades in his paperclips to buy Ernie a soapdish for his rubber ducky.

(Did anybody else want to collect paperclips because of Bert? My dad used to bring me home paperclips from work, and I thought they were the greatest thing in the world. He would give me them little AT&T magnetic holder and I would spend hours linking those things together.) Yeah...

Ernie sells his rubber ducky to buy Bert a cigar box for his paperclips.

That whole "Gift of the Magi" storyline never gets old.

By the end of the special, Mr. Hooper saves the day.

Mr. Hooper always saves the day.

Diana Rissetto

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sharing a (non-Christmas!) link...

Last year, I read the novel Those Who Save Us and was really taken with it.

I have always been fascinated with the World War II era (I think I can credit my Molly McIntyre doll and the television series Homefront for that one), and thought that I had read plenty of various Holocaust books and watched numerous films on the topic. Glancing over at my DVD shelf, I can spot The Pianist, Life is Beautiful, Swing Kids, the miniseries Holocaust, starring a very young Meryl Streep, and more than one version of The Diary of Anne Frank. (I also examined Anne Frank's sister, Margot, in the award-winning musical I collaborated on recently.)

However, this particular novel touched-upon something I never gave much thought to...the average German woman during World War II...women who just wanted to survive, and sometimes turned to extreme measures to keep themselves and their children alive and safe.

I shot the author, Jenna Blum, an email after I finished the book to thank her for making my commute more enjoyable for a few days, and she responded.

We're now, of course, Facebook friends.

Jenna posted this link today, and it made me laugh and admire her even more.

I really love the fact that a New York Times best-selling author can laugh at herself like this!\

It reminded me of something I did recently...sending a play I wrote to a young singer/composer that I would love to work with (his last name rhymes Manicotti...).

I haven't heard back from him yet, but I'm pretty sure that he is just waiting until he has finished writing all the songs for the musical we'll collaborate on together.

In fact, I bet I'll run into him on the subway soon.

I'll hear a young man behind me softly singing to himself as he crosses-out and rewrites...I'll turn around...we'll realize who the other is...then he'll hand me the sheet music, we'll start to sing, and soon the entire train will break-out into a big, rousing ensemble number.

Thank you, Jenna Blum, for this sensational book and this very amusing Alec Baldwin-related read.

I can only hope to one day be the subject of the blog of "rambling girl who has no idea what she should do with her life."

Diana Rissetto

Holiday Clip of the Day...

One day, this will stop being so funny...I don't know when that will happen...and I don't even know why I find it so funny. (My friend Matt responded to this comment with, "Because it has Cheyenne in it, and a little red puppet in a white dress hitting him and telling him to get outa here...")

I watched it last Christmas when it came-out, after eating nothing but Christmas cookies all day, and thought I was just giggling so much at it because I was punchy and on a sugar high.

But, oh no...this thing never stops being hilarious to me.

Here is the [title of show] holiday special from last year, which debuted the puppet Mindy and her infamous catch phrase, "Get outttttttttttttttta here, Cheyenne Jackson!"

I truly loved [title of show] when it came to Broadway, and am sad, although I understand, why it didn't exactly catch-on and last very long. I think the creators are on to something very, very special, and I hope they stick around and keep putting-out more stuff for me to laugh at.

"It's Christmas time at [title of show]..."

Diana Rissetto

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Holiday Clip of the Day...

I love my sappy and sentimental holiday commercials.

Hallmark has released many gems over the years.

I remember several years ago, I was watching a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie with my mother. (It was Back When We Were Grown-ups, starring Blythe Danner and based on the novel by Anne Tyler, who is one of my favorite authors.)

Each commercial break brought a couple of more Hallmark advertisements, and by the end of the movie, I was on the couch absolutely weeping.

My mother said, "This movie is not sad!"

Me: It's not the movie! It's all these emotional commercials!

(The holidays are, by default, a very weepy time of year for me.)

Sadly, YouTube does not have many of my favorites uploaded. (What a shame!)

Which means I will have to narrate my favorites.

Couple (actually the couple from Father of the Bride) is going through the wife's old Christmas ornaments. The wife is quizzing the husband.

Husband: This is from your first dance recital...and this is...the one your grandmother gave you when you were seven...and this one...

(Wife gets all choked-up)

Husband: This is the one that always makes you cry. (He reaches out and hugs her.)

Old man is telling his grandchildren about his first Hannukah in America. He came over on the boat alone, and made friends with a little boy and his family. They spent the holiday together.

Grandpa: And then we got to America...and I never heard from him again...

Somebody hands grandpa a card.

Grandpa reads it to himself and gets choked-up.

Child: What does it say, Grandpa?

Grandpa: It says I'm going to have to change the end of that story!

(Seriously, Hallmark...if you released a Best of Hallmark Commercials DVD, there would absolutely be an audience for it! I'd buy one! And so would...lots of other people...I am sure!)

Whatever, this time of year, I tend to cry over air freshener commercials.

There is another holiday commercial that has stood the test of time, and that I have seen on television just about every year of my life. (It was originally aired the year I was born, so that is actually quite true!)

Oh, Peter.

You've come home!

Diana Rissetto

Friday, December 12, 2008

Holiday Clip of the Day

93 years ago today, a baby was born in Hoboken, NJ and the doctor mistook him for dead. He put the baby aside and focused on saving the child's mother instead.

However, the boy's grandmother was nearby, grabbed the baby, and ran him under cold water.

The baby let-out a was Frank Sinatra's first song. There would never be anybody like him ever again...(even though the Harry Connicks and Peter Cincottis might make convincing arguments.)

Happy Birthday to the best that there ever was!

Since it is nearly-impossible to pick a favorite Frank Sinatra holiday song (although "Christmas Waltz" has always stuck-out a bit...), here are several. (currently the hold music on my cellphone) (I dare you not to cry at the last lines)

Diana Rissetto

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Holiday Clip of the Day...

Josh Groban is not Jewish.

I thought he was for some reason...(people are constantly mistaking me for being Jewish...I think it's the curly dark hair, which Josh Groban also happens to have...I am always told I look Jewish...I am not sure why...perhaps it's the small crucifix that is usually dangling around my neck that gives that impression?)

In fact, I was planning on starting this Holiday of the Day introduction with, "It's pretty funny that the most beautiful version of 'O Holy Night' (and Christmas songs don't get much holier than 'O Holy Night') ever recorded was done by a Jewish boy!"

Before I wrote that, I figured I'd research whether Josh was indeed Jewish...and he's not...he is actually Episcopalian.

...which means the fact that he has recorded "O Holy Night" isn't weird at all...

So...there goes my funny introduction...

Here's the most perfect human voice I have ever heard singing "Oh Holy Night" at the 2002 tree would be about another five years until Josh released his own Christmas album, which I think is blasphemy. (What kind of a world do we live in when Jessica Simpson gets a holiday album before Josh Groban? Seriously!)

Diana Rissetto

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Holiday Clip of the Day...

Just like Eloise, I was a city child.

One thing I will always feel a bit regretful about is that I will never be able to experience New York City as a tourist, for the very first time, during the holidays. It is something I have always taken for granted. When I was a kid, my family lived right near the South Street Seaport. There was a chorus that would stand in the shape of a tree and sing Christmas songs. The People Tree. (I am not sure if that was there official name...that's what we called them, at least.)

A couple of weeks ago, I went to see Harry Connick, Jr. on a Saturday evening and decided to roam the city for hours that day, observing all the typical touristy holiday attractions.

I always forget just how crowded the city gets this time of year...and then it takes me twenty minutes to walk one block, and it all comes back to me. However, I'm not these difficult times, it's really nice to know that people are still flocking to the greatest city in the world during this magical time of year and I love seeing how happy and excited little kids are over the Radio City Christmas Show.

I loved this song when it first came out, and it brought on a very special significance.

Come down to the city
Crowd around the big tree
All you strangers who know me
Bring your compassion
Your understanding
Lord, how we need it
On this New York City Christmas

If I was able to return to my childhood neighborhood without crying all over the place (as I tend to do), I would visit the People Tree myself...but, I won't be, so if you're in the area, go see it for me...and have a Merry New York City Christmas, wherever you are.

Here's Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20 on the Today Show several years ago...

Call on your angels
Come down to the city
Crowd around the big tree
All you strangers who know me
Bring your compassion
Your understanding
Lord, how we need it
On this New York City Christmas

Yeah I'm sending you a merry New York Christmas
and a prayer for peace on earth within our time
Hear the sidewalk angels echo halleluja
We understand more, now more than ever

So call on your angels
You're beaten and broken
It's time that we mended
So they don't fade with the season
Let our mercy be the gifts we lay
From Brooklyn and to Broadway
Celebrate each and every day
of this New York City Christmas

Yeah I'm sending you a merry New York Christmas
and a prayer for peace on earth within our time
Hear the sidewalk angels echo halleluja
We understand more, now more than ever
Merry New York Christmas

Call on your angels
Come down to the city
Let's Crowd around the big tree
All you strangers you know me
Bring your compassion
Bring your forgiveness
Lord how we need it
On this New York City Christmas

Yeah, I'm sending you a Merry New York Christmas
And a prayer for peace on Earth
It's not too late
Yeah the sidewalk angels echo hallelujah
We understand them
We understand them
Merry Christmas
Yes, a New York City Christmas
(Oh Christmas)

Diana Rissetto

Holiday Clip of the Day...

There will be two today, since I missed yesterday.

Here are Mandy Gonzalez and Christopher Jackson of In the Heights singing "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" at last year's tree lighting. (They get extra points for not singing "Feliz Navidad", like everyone would probably expect them to...)

Great rendition, with two wonderful young Broadway performers.

Diana Rissetto

Monday, December 8, 2008

Holiday Clip of the Day

Michael Landon is one of my idols.


I bought myself the Highway to Heaven DVDs for a Christmas gift to myself and spent a good chunk of yesterday watching them. (That show is pure sap at its best. A Holocaust survivor's son is shot by a Neo-Nazi, who is later shot, and then the Holocaust survivor has a heart attack and receives the heart of the Neo Nazi...a young blind girl falls in love with the neighborhood recluse, who has a deformed face...and then she gets her sight back...a man brings home the daughter he fathered while he was a soldier in Vietnam...



Michael Landon taught me that you can be a total sap and a terrible cornball and end-up beloved and touch the hearts of millions. Say what you will about the man, but he left quite a legacy...and, to think, he was only fifty-five years old when he died. We lost him way too early...there is so much else he could have created. I think he was a very special guy, and I'll always look-up to him as an actor and a writer.

I also quite love Little House on the Prairie. (While visiting my mom in Florida over Thanksgiving, I learned the Hallmark Channel shows it about four times a day. My mom commented, "You still like this show, don't you?" Yes...I do.)

Little House on the Prairie brought us numerous memorable Christmas moments.

Laura's little girl is kidnapped by a woman who just lost her own baby. Will they find her in time for Christmas?

The Ingalls and their assorted friends are trapped in the Little House on Christmas Eve...each take turns remembering their most special Christmas memories. Hester Sue recalls her childhood as a slave, and when she thought Santa Claus only cared about white children...Almanzo remembers when he learned that there truly WAS a Santa Claus...Mrs. Ingalls takes us back to the first Christmas with her stepfather, who gave her an ornament that still hangs on the tree years later...and Laura, of course, brings us to an actual flashback of their very first Christmas in the Little House...and when Mr. Edwards brought very special presents for the girls.

My gosh, I am tearing-up right now...

And then, there was the year when Laura sold her horse in order to buy Ma a stove for Christmas...while Pa was spending every last minute working on a saddle for Laura's horse...and Mary and Ma just happened to make Pa the same exact shirt!

Call it a Prairie Gift of the Magi.

I still think this show was wonderful...sweet...saccharine...maudlin (I know that word well, my 9th grade English teacher used to tell me my writing could be too maudlin at times) the same time?

The world needs more of that these days.

Diana Rissetto

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Holiday clip of the day...

I remember coming home at the end of the semester in college, after taking four essay tests in one day, and being extremely exhausted and punchy. I crashed on my mother's couch, while she made christmas cookies, and I watched Eloise at Christmastime.

And I couldn't stop laughing (especially when Eloise gets everyone in the elevator to sing Christmas songs wtih her.)

My mother looked over at me and said, "Wow, Diana...I never knew you had such a small mind!"

In the role of Bill the Waiter, Eloise's best friend and struggling actor, is Gavin Creel.

I first saw Gavin in Thoroughly Modern Millie about seven (yikes) years ago. I have said more than once that Gavin has the most beautiful male voice of our generation, plus, I'm pretty sure he couldn't be any cuter if he was an orphan with a limp.

(By the way, when Gavin was filming this movie, his role of Jimmy in Millie was covered by no other than Cheyenne Jackson! Broadway is a small town.)

This clip is absolutely delightful!!!!!

I want to dance on top of a piano with Gavin Creel in the plaza hotel at Christmas!

Some girls have all the luck!

Diana Rissetto

Friday, December 5, 2008

Holiday clip of the day...

It's been a great week for New York City tree lightings.

On Tuesday, my wonderful friend Cheyenne Jackson brought down the park (and the skating rink!) at the Bryant Park tree lighting and sang "Silent Night" and "Sleigh Ride".

On Wednesday, Harry Connick, Jr. performed at that other little tree lighting they do at Rockefeller Center.

And yesterday, Peter Cincotti sang (and, of course, played the piano in his usual fantastic way) at the New York Stock Exchange tree lighting.

I have said it before and I will say it again...if Peter Cincotti had his own holiday album, the world would be a better place.

The boy's got magic.

Diana Rissetto

No secret...

...but this time of year, I love my share of cheesy Lifetime and Family Channel holiday movies.

Love love love.

Apparently, there is somebody who loves cheesy Lifetime and Family Channel movies as much as I do (however, he's not nearly as pathetic as I am, since he gets paid to be in them...while I do not get paid to watch them. Maybe somewhere out there, there really is a job where I can get paid for crying over holiday sap all day.)

Steven Eckholdt.

You probably recognize him.

He is one of those guys that is in just about every movie and television show ever filmed.

I personally fondly remember him as the ill-fated Vietnam soldier Peter in the television mini-series adaptation Danielle Steel's Message from Nam...the character was a blond in the book. Steven,however, made it work. (I used to read a lot of Danielle Steel in junior high and high school. Maybe those books set me-up for a lifetime of disappointment.)

Steven also turns-up frequently in holiday movies on television.

Like Santa Who?

Santa Claus develops amnesia after accidentally falling out of his sleigh and only the innocence of a small child can save him. Meanwhile, Santa has to battle the disbelief of a newsman.

Steven plays the reporter who doesn't believe. I'm not giving away much, but by the end of the movie?

He believes!

(Because that plot has never been done before.)

And then there's Comfort and Joy...which I watched last night. Now, when it comes to TV movies, I think Nancy McKeon of Facts of Life fan knows how to pick 'em.

The life of Jane Berry was all materialist, until one Christmas Eve, she is involved in a car accident that changes her life forever. She wakes up to discover she is the mother of two, a wife and that her only job is in the house, besides her frequent volunteer work.

In this one, Steven is the husband of the woman who doesn't remember ever marrying him or having children.

The ending is pretty saccharine and freaking adorable. Jane gets out of her car after her accident, and sees the man she was married to in the dream sequence (or whatever you want to call it) and tells him, "I know who you are! You're Sam! I have always loved you! You have a green toothbrush!"

Sam isn't freaked out at ALL, and they go walking-out into the Christmas moonlight together.

And then there was Secret Santa...which I (gasp!) have never seen! (I know...I can't believe it, either.)

Newspaper reporter Rebecca Chandler, who feels she got no fair chance to prove her worth in her thee years career, looks forward to a Hawaian holiday with her fiancé Ryan, but instead of a ring he brings her- walking orders, he found better. So she accepts again to be the bachelor on duty in the Christmas season, and write the annual romantic non-news feel good-story, once more about the elusive Secret Santa in small-town Hamden, where the Christmas spirit it said to last all year. Bad luck follows her from Indianapolis: her car breaks down, she can only get lodgings in a home for the elderly without Internet, and nobody wants to help her unmask the secret Santa. Soon she guesses it must be the only rich philanthropist, but the popular Mr. John Martin Carter doesn't grant her an interview and isn't tricked either, in fact meets her at the worst repeatedly without her knowing him, until he arranges to be presented at the mayor's Christmas party, then invites her for dinner and proves a charming widower, yet denies being secret Santa, causing her boss to panic and explode. After more bad news and another red herring she is resigned to return defeated

Steven filmed this film, Our First Christmas, recently. I don't know if this one has been aired yet.

Christmas plans are destined to be ruined when two families come together

I obviously don't know Steven Eckholdt...but I think he's a kindred spirit.

Diana Rissetto

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Holiday Clip of the Day...

I'll post two this morning, since I slacked-off...

If you fast-forward to 17:00, you will see/hear Cheyenne Jackson singing "Silent Night", backed by a choir of children!

I was there, joined by my good friends Laura and Steve, and we were literally standing under the tree. We couldn't see a thing, but hearing Cheyenne's voice fill Bryant Park made me very proud!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Holiday Clip of the Day...

As promised, here is another one of my favorite holiday clips.

Harry Connick, Jr. is one of my all-time favorites. He is the first person I ever really became a fan of on my own.

And his Christmas music is magic!

Here's "When My Heart Finds Christmas".

Try not to look into this video too much. There are a lot of plotholes in it. Who are all these children? Elves? Orphans? What is wrong with that little girl that Harry picks-up? Is she unable to walk? Why do these kids wrapping up a chair and cheering when Harry opens it?

Just focus on the very lovely music, the cute little kids, and, of course, those very very lovely blue blue blue eyes.

Diana Rissetto