Tweet-A-Palooza From the Death March With Cocktails, Vol. 2

Ken Burns on drinking, Playboy Mansion, Rosie, Oprah, William Hurt and some nonsense
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

A lot has happened on The Death March With Cocktails, but not all of that has appeared online atThe Hollywood Reporter. This is an event that just begs to be a Twitter-fest. So, while gathering up info from the panels, execs and whatnot, while also live-blogging and prepping columns, I’ve been tweeting regularly. Here’s a backward timeline of what’s been seen and said so far at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, in 140 characters or less per entry.  You can always follow along at: @BastardMachine. The event never ends. Well, no, it just feels that way. It ends on Aug. 8. Until then, tweet-tweet. Here goes:

PBS: Ken Burns: Prohibition: (also featuring co-director Lynn Novick and writer Daniel Okrent)

I am now drinking at Ken Burns’ Prohibition session. It just seem so right. “What America needs now is a drink.” - FDR.

Have now been mocked by both @sepinwall and @HitFixDaniel about whether I’m going to live blog Ken Burns. Not calling it a day!

Lot of abuse at this table tonight.

Critic next to me says we should shout, “Hey, Burnsy! We’re dry out here!” if PBS shuts the bar during the session. “Temperance blows!”

Said critic worried about bar closing joined me for a top off. Since we were there, got some spares. #nationofdrunkards

Prohibition, Burns latest documentary, is really good (though haven’t finished it all). Lots of agreement that it makes you want to drink.

Prohibition airs Oct. 2-4 on PBS. First segment: “A Nation Of Drunkards.” ...”I am an American aquarium drinker” rings in my head...(That’s part of a Wilco song, if you’re curious, and you should be).

Not sure what happens in Prohibition, but it sure looks like things go sideways pretty quickly. Particularly in Chicago.

For those of you worried about an avalanche of Prohibition tweets, never fear. Very focused on drinking. But Burnsy is a good quote.

If Burns’ National Parks doc was porn for vacationers/travelers (it was), I’m afraid to guess at what Prohibition will be.

Burns said he had his first drink of year tonight! @sepinwall: Heh. @bastardmachine trying to get Burns & Novick to share drinking stories.

Prohibition is going to dovetail nicely with the return of Boardwalk Empire. I’m sure PBS would like some of those viewers.

Lynn Novick and Daniel Okrent offered up good drinking stories. But I guess if we got Burns to have a drink on the Death March = win.

“A hedonistic pursuit in the marketplace of objects.” Even out of context, Burns charms with words. The guy is crazy smart and well spoken.

Also, Daniel Okrent: great storyteller, funny, godfather of fantasy baseball. Wonder if he’ll look at my NL-only team over drinks.

“Winston Churchill thought Prohibition was an insult to civilization.” - Burns. See, this is why we pack the house.

“That’s in our educational outreach material.” - Novick when asked if a drinking game in Prohibition might attract young viewers.

OK, session over. Drinking lamp is lit. Heading to Stardust Lounge on the roof for cocktails. Yay for PBS!

Starz: Boss (featuring Kelsey Grammer):

Last panel of Starz is for Boss, a dark series where Kelsey Grammer is evil...

Gus Van Sant is the exec producer and director on Boss.

Cast for Boss is Grammer, Connie Nielsen, Kathleen Robertson, Hannah Ware and Jeff Hephner.

“He’s a lot of fun to play.” - Grammer. Who compares his character to Iago from Shakespeare.

“It’s probably the greatest time of my life, creatively.” - Grammer.

“With Hank, nobody really liked that. It wasn’t really funny. So we thought we’d do something.” - Grammer, who laughs, to his credit.

“So we thought we’d do something different.” Fixed. And he’s right about different. His Mayor of Chicago figure is manipulatively ruthless.

Fascinating part of industry is not Kelsey Grammer admitting Hank wasn’t funny or very good, but whether he knew that at the time.

Gus Van Sant only directed the pilot, but he’s here as exec producer, so appears committed.

“I decided I needed a life change. You are all familiar what’s been going in my personal life.” “Maybe no the details.”

“I made NBC shoot a pilot once that was much better than the Emeril show they put on the air.” Grammer on overusing his power “once”

Boss looks and sounds very good. But it also feels like Grammer took Sideshow Bob and made a cable series out of him.

“We had one story for Hank.... After 8 episodes I called Warner Bros. and said, “Peter (Roth), how do we put a bullet in this?”

I think Kelsey Grammer was the most revealing and honest he’s ever been. Made for a great panel. Starz/Encore done.

Starz: Spartacus: Vengeance:

Spartacus: Vengeance clip just aired. More blood porn!

Spartacus Vengeance airs January 2012. Spoiler: It’s bloody.

Lucy Lawless dropping numerous honey badger references throughout this Spartacus panel #TCAs11

Spartacus cast of Liam McIntyre, Lucy Lawless, Manu Bennett, Katrina Law and Dustin Clare is extremely good looking. Not breaking news.

For those who lust after Manu Bennett, you should know he’s wearing the hell out of his shirt right now.

Spartacus cast mostly ¾ nude in every scene, so the amount of gym time must be legendary.

Looking at this cast is just a sad, sad reminder that I’m not doing enough core work.

Exec producer Steven DeKnight is a little too proud that “it’s all green screen...we never go outside.”

Somewhere Matt Weiner is going to read that green-screen quote and fall on the ground.

“Just a flesh wound!” Lucy Lawless explains how her character actually didn’t die last season when she died last season.

As much as I don’t like this show, which is a lot, I do like Lucy Lawless. How can you not?

What would you fight for question (gah!) being asked of entire cast. Critic next to me, “I want one to say ‘for your right to party.”

“There are stunt men on our show that just accept that they have to get hit in the face.” - Bennett.

Starz/Encore: Moby Dick

The cast of Moby Dick is here, not very enthusiastically. William Hurt, Ethan Hawke, Gillian Anderson.

William Hurt was asked why he wanted to do Moby Dick. Mumbling: “I read the book.”

We’re still in the Encore/Starz session, by the way. Which probably means you won’t be watching Moby Dick. Hell, I might not either.

The film’s writer, Nigel Williams, just said “Your president said it’s his favorite book.” Those Brits know everything.

For some reason, this panel with Hurt, Hawke and Anderson is pretty boring. Damn you, Trader Vic! Or it could be that Jerry Lewis stunned me.

Starz says the movie is between 3 and 4 hours. Wha? That’s not even a good guess. Show more care, Starz.

I want Starz to say, “Spartacus will be, we don’t know, three, seven, maybe 11 episodes.”

This Moby Dick panel now feels longer than the book.

“Thank goodness, you’re here.” Hurt to writer Nigel Williams, who just went on a big answer. The stars are bored, clearly.

“I did a Kojak, once.” - William Hurt. That’s Twitter gold.

@BastardMachine The stars also clearly remember nothing about this production and are relying on Williams to remind them.

Rosie and Jerry just kicked some serious Hurt, Hawke, Anderson ass.

“I will go to your barn yard for it.” - Hurt on the lengths he’d go to do great work.

Every time I hear Hurt on these panels, I keep thinking of someone who just put down a gigantic bong.

“I”m getting a lot of information through my equipment.” Hurt on, I think, computers.

Hurt is now talking about “how great the human brain is,” while endorsing newspapers over computers. I love this guy.

“Time for one more question.” Really?

Oh my God, last question is from a woman who asks if there are going to be Moby Dick toys and t-shirts. This session is officially lame.

The Moby Dick session has been mercifully speared.

OWN: Rosie (O’Donnell):

Oprah is here and, completely astonishing, talking.

She’s talking about “the Oprah Winfrey library” of material...

No way she beats the filibuster from last summer. No way. But gods lover her, she’s trying.

She’s “embracing the idea of making the world’s biggest classroom.” It’s called OWN Your Life: The Oprah Class. God I love this woman.

@BastardMachine Tim, she started talking last summer. She finished at winter tour.

I’m so taking the Oprah class. I need the credits to transfer to the University of Ellen.

Rosie O’Donnell - nobody calls her anything but Rosie - is here for her OWN show: The Rosie Show. Sizzle view was funny.

If for nothing else, Rosie is already a hero because her arrival stopped Oprah from beating Harry Belafonte’s Summer TCA filibuster record.

“If you don’t get you, I get you.” Rosie to Oprah when the latter asked her why she wanted to work for OWN.

“It’s going to be different from my last show.” Well, that’s a good start.

“It’s going to be one celebrity per show.” And they need to have something to say, not sell. First guest, Oprah. That takes up first 4 mos.

“Were going to have a controversy segment (beat, then laughing) no were not!” Rosie goofed on us. She’s doing well, by the way.

“Once you’ve done that once, really.” - Rosie says she won’t be attacking people like Tom Cruise, let’s say.

Rosie talks so fast you can’t stop her. Not that we want to. But actually typing in her riffs is impossible.

Rosie riffing. I simply can’t type that fast. But trust me, it’s pretty good.

Rosie wants Russell Brand in the first week.

She also wants Adele.

Comedy opens her show, some comedy-type game closes it. Middle is interview time. That’s the Cliff’s Notes version.

There’s a possibility that Trader Vic may be responsible for my slow typing. Damn him. Or maybe the wi-fi?

Oprah is still in the room. Listening. Sign of a good boss. Or maybe she’s just hovering in a threatening manner. I do not know.

“My job is to entertain and be funny.” She’s not really “aspirational” like Oprah, she says. But is inspirational.

Rosie talking about a woman’s razor from Schick. It’s funny. She will endorse it if asked.

She’s given the OWN people a list of products she will endorse. It’s a way not to be forced to shill for something she doesn’t believe in.

Follow-up question: “A little more personal...” She just talked about her razor. What more do you want from her?

Rosie’s on an epic riff. No possible way of keeping track of it unless you have a recorder. Which I lost, I think, at Traver Vic’s.

Rosie says she’ll reveal the two questions the publicists didn’t want her to answer/warned her about. She’s killing the room.

“I could be Mariah up here and it would be a lot tougher,” she says to the publicist who is clearly worried things are about to go sideways.

The two things: Donald Trump and Barbara Walters.

No one has a mic to ask her about Donald Trump and Barbara Walters now...

TCA trip to the Playboy Mansion:

Trip to Playboy Mansion party tonight purely sociological. Need to find out if it’s more skeevy than Robert Evans’ iconic pad.

Between Univision and Playboy women in the lobby: Ridonkulous. That is all.

More security to go to Hef’s house than White House.

Eagle has landed. Must say, it is surreal. Bunnies be hoppin’

Female DJ, natch. Also lots of peacocks. Btw, if your dress isn’t 3 inches above mid thigh minimum, you are considered Amish.

Penelope, Miss March 2003 was our tour guide. Playmates lead tours onthe deceptively large grounds. Still getting it done, Penelope.

Whatever store is selling the It Doesn’t Really Cover Your Ass dress is making bank in this town

Every hip hop song here has the lyric “shake that ass, girl.” And, not surprising, it’s like a call and response to the bunnies.

There are a lot of smelly birds and animals here. Buzzkill.

OK this is odd. You stand around drinking here and a pack of would be bunnies circle around you and ask if you love it here! Um, sure.

Let the record reflect that @HitFixDaniel also noticed the would-be bunnies were getting “handsy” with themselves right when we were booted.

Also, I did take pictures but it’s a lousy iPhone 3G and I have no idea how to upload.

Best investigative journalism of the night: Tour guides were all official Playmates. Looked down on hootchie skanks walking the grounds.

So there was a hierarchy to it. See, told you it was sociological. Also, Duke-chant the Grotto. Totally over-rate-ed. And smelled.

Reporter asked our tour guide, Penelope, if she lived here. She pointed to her head and said, “Not blonde.” She also scowled at hootchies.

On tour, Penelope said, “That’s Mr. Hefner’s bedroom.” Dark. Then, “That’s Mr. Hefner’s bathroom.” Light goes on inside. Me: “Blog gold.”

Massive Mansion lawn slopes downhill, 150+ yards. Me: “I’m not sure Hef can mow that.” Penelope says its 4th of July waterslide. #Pulitzer

Penelope: “So many boobs have popped out on this hill. You get to the end and it’s like, whoops!” #2ndPulitzer

Secluded “Game House’ has game room, 3 bedrooms. One has bouncy floor. Penelope: “You can sit or stand, but don’t let your face touch it.”

Bouncy room has, no kidding, pillows, floor, five + boxes of tissues, lube and shower. Skipped that one. (Shudder.)

Hef showed up. But only for like 2 seconds. Thank you, I’ll be here all week. (and longer). But no, he didn’t show up.

Btw, if you’re grossed out, you’re not the only one. #notjokingaboutSilkdwoodshower.

Hef has dinner with Playmates on big holidays. Otherwise eats alone in his room. #BleakHouse#BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor.

I felt bad for Penelope. Miss March 2003. In this town, that’s like being Bea Arthur.

Btw, only the official Playmates could wear super-tight fitting tops with Playboy logo in Bedazzled colors. Hootchies left to Forever 21.

Looked at my iPhotos. Kinda proud that my mom raised me not to shoot a bunch of pix of other hot babe’s asses.

Penelope pointed out wishing well where Hef was to marry “that girl who won’t be named.” Me: “Voldemort?” #3rdPulitzer.

Critic behind me after Voldemort comment: “You are SO not getting laid.”

Penelope said Hef built the Playboy Mansion in 1926. Wanted to say, “When he was 40?” But bit tongue. She really loves the dude.

I did ask if she was ever Hef’s girlfriend (they get a room at the Mansion). A: No. #IAmKickingYourAssDanRather.

Plus, I asked who got the five or so Kojak parking spots at top of the driveway by the door. Playmates, yo. One was hers. #4thPulitzer.

Me: “That’s the shortest skirt in the world.” Fellow critic: “Take a picture.” Me: “What the F is wrong with you?” #Hero.

Penelope said Hef was indeed inside, playing cards w/his friends. I kept hoping I’d see him inside, mouthing “Save Me” to me & weeping.

Swear on bible true moment: Two wannabe bunnies walk up to me and say, “What are you doing?” Me, w/glasses: “Tweeting.” They walked away.

I think that about empties the notebook on Playboy Mansion, folks. Thanks for tolerating the tweet-blasts. AMC, 8:30 a.m.

Wait! Penelope shows us tennis courts. Me: “Looks just like Robert Evans’ courts.” Her: “Bobby’s place? Yeah.” #Bobby’splace. #Twittergold.

FYI: Robert Evans’ house. View slideshow! Death March With Cocktials story on it:

I’m counting the 8:30 a.m. start for AMC’s sessions after a night at the Playboy Mansion as payback for critical blowback on The Killing.


Twitter: @BastardMachine

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