The Michigan Daily - Friday, November 5, 1999 - 9
Los Angeles Times
To know what Katie Puckrik wants, you must
know this about the former Pet Shop Boys dancer:
She will tell another straight woman, "You're
sexy!" and mean it. Her voice will pitch from
Scarlett O'Hara bossy to Barry White sultry in a
business meeting. She is an ex-BBC star who did-
n't hesitate "one jot" when a start-up cable TV net-
work she had never heard of asked her to move to
Los Angeles from London, her home of 16 years
a city in which she was recognized at every
turn. (She wasn't hard to miss, with fire engine-
red hair, a tailored men's jacket in lime green and
canary yellow trousers).
What the 37-year-old Virginia native wants is to
entertain, to express her inner chick self, to hang
out with the girls. What she wants to do now is to
play the way she has always played - and do it on
her upcoming TV show, "Pajama Party," for the
upstart company, Oxygen Media.
"Pajama Party" is scheduled to debut in
'bruary with the launch of the new cable network
Oxygen. The network's brain trust includes former
Nickelodeon guru Geraldine Laybourne, the prin-
cipals of Carsey-Werner (producers of
"Roseanne" and "3rd Rock From the Sun") and
Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Entertainment Group.
In July, Puckrik arrived from London alone,
without her boyfriend, a freelance journalist, who
will join her soon. In Los Angeles, she's staying
with friends, looking for a place to live, tooling
around in her Volkswagen bug, trying to find a
ga class . Not to mention trying to piece togeth-
a show from scratch.
"To begin with, it's terrifying, and then ulti-
mately, of course, it's empowering," Puckrik said.
She cupped her hands to the heavens. "The big
guns are there going, 'Fly free, little bird!' So they
trust me. So it's up to me to do a fantastic job. I'm
very much aware that this is one of the handful of
original shows that's starting up the network."
In England, she hosted a live comedy show for
the BBC from 1995 to 1996, and earlier this year,
*formed with a cast that included Kate Winslet
and Cate Blanchett in "The Vagina Monologues,"
a stage production calling for an end to sexual vio-
lence. Also, Puckrik had hosted "Pajama Party"
for one season in 1996. Most recently, she had
been on a book tour, promoting her memoir
"Shooting From the Lip" ), and auditioning for
Broadway musicals in London.
Puckrik, who owned a flat in London, had been
thinking about moving back to the United States at
some point. She was visiting her family in Virginia
en Oxygen executives tracked her down.
Everything that I do has some aspect of the cel-
ebration of being female. I'm just one of those
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By Jewel Gopwanl
Daily Arts Writer
The uninhibited spirit of rock 'n'
roll was scheduled to hit the small
screen Sunday and again on
Wednesday in the form of a four-
hour CBS mini-series called "Shake
Rattle & Roll."
Rumors of Blink 182 and Dicky
Barrett cameos peaked the interest
of many who consider themselves
connoisseurs of the rock 'n' roll
But that wild carefree aura of rock
'n' roll has been thoroughly trashed
and broken down to a moronic easy
listening muzak depiction of the
Instead of offering a version of the
'54s that would somewhat realisti-
cally depict the era's exciting history,
"Shake Rattle &
Roll" is a boring
F hake cliche-ridden
account of two
Shake Rattle teenagers trying
& Roll to make a future
in a changing
Cas The series
Nov. 7 & 10 at 9 p.m. opens in a high
school in the
small town of
Katie Puckrik's talk show will debut on the new Oxygen cable network in February.
women that just looooves being a girl. I like to get
dolled up and put on some lipstick and fluff my
hair up. I also like being appreciated for any wit or
intelligence that may or not pass through my lips"
She is used to spinning from one life to another.
Her father, a U.S. Air Force colonel who worked.
for the diplomatic corps, and her stay-at-home
mom moved their four kids around the world to
countries including Russia and Germany. Puckrik,
the youngest child, was a cutup in a family of
cutups. As a kid, she took ballet classes and later
In 1983, she moved to London to follow a
boyfriend. The relationship ended, but her career
as a singer and dancer took off, leading to a stint
in 1991 with the British dance-pop group the Pet
Shop Boys. After the concert tour, she beat out
5,000 people for a job hosting what became a cult
TV show, "The Word." Other'TV and radio pro-
grams followed, but Puckrik had an idea for her
own show. "Pajama Party."
"Some of the most fun I've ever had in my life,"
she said, "is insalubrious get-togethers with my
girlfriends; no boys around. It gets a little too
frisky for words."
The Oxygen scouts went after Puckrik after see-
ing her work by happenstance. It didn't matter that
Puckrik hadn't heard of the network; it was
enough for her to hear the names of the players.
Puckrik sent them tapes of "Pajama Party." which
she had developed and hosted for an independent
TV station in England.
Now, Puckrik and Todd Yasui, her co-executive
producer, are interviewing potential writers and
sidekicks, and drawing up celebrity guest lists. A
pilot is expected to be shot soon.
For now, Puckrik and Yasui spend their days in
motor-mouthed banter, cooking up segments for
"Pajama Party" will be part of a high-stakes
lineup of original programming aimed at women.
A total of four shows, including one hosted by
Candice Bergen, will be based in Los Angeles.
New York-based Oxygen is drawing some of the
most powerful women in the entertainment indus-
try, who are gambling that their online and cable
TV network will emerge as a contender in the
crowded multimedia scene. Oxygen will vie for
territory dominated by Lifetime Television, the
cable channel for women, which has 74 million
subscribers. (Oxygen expects to reach 8 million to
10 million subscribers by its launch date, a
Her show will celebrate the post-'90s girliness
within, the un-P.C. notion that girls can be girls in
a boyish sort of way (Example: Puckrik eats
doughnuts without guilt).
"So things are funny and intriguing and kind of
anti-Martha Stewart," Puckrik said, whose on-
camera look will be un-Martha Stewart-like -
with sheer, lacy lingerie swooping way past her
pink-sequined dog collar.
On a bachelorette-pad set. the audience of women
will be asked to bring their own pajamas. The audi-
ence will sprawl on couches and poofy pillows. The
show will reflect a let-it-all-hang-out chat fest, with
the audience and celebrity guests joining in on talk,
games and activities. Meanwhile, a sidekick will troll
Los Angeles with a camera crew in search of high
jinks. Puckrik's comic sensibility fits into the com-
pany's efforts to beckon "the modern woman,"
Oxygen executives said.
"If anybody is an Oxygen girl, Katie is an
Oxygen girl," said Oxygen partner Caryn
Mandabach, president of Carsey-Werner. "We
knew instantly she was the right person for us.
She's really, really smart, but she's really, really
funny ... ("Pajama Party") has a sense of fun, a
sense of play, a sense of what it really means to be
Industry issues of stardom, sell-
ing out, violence and sleeping with
your manager's wife find their way
into the series. All the while
Manager Morris Gunn (James
Coburn) pushes the band to towards
stardom and makes the groups
insides more rotten then they were to
The mini series doesn't even offer
much when it comes to the history of
rock 'n' roll. They cover the basics:
Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, B.B.
King and Bill Haley all influence
The Heartaches in their quest for
Perhaps Blink 182's Tom delonge
and Mark Hoppus, making a short
cameo appearance, are the most
interesting part of the series.
Identified in the credits as "Surfer
Singer #1" and "Surfer Singer #2"
this is the duo's stellar acting debut.
But oddly enough, the men of Blink
don't get a record deal from our
female lead when she makes a name
for herself as a label big wig.
A few other familiar characters
include Danner's parents, "Picket
Fences"' Kathy Baker and "Major
Dad's" Gerald McRaney .
At the tail end of the mini series,
CBS offering the viewer a music
video of none other than the tune
"Shake Rattle & Roll," by the coolest
cat on the show, the Mighty Mighty
Bosstone's own Dicky Barrett.
Aside from the blatant contempt
for historical accuracy and the
cheese soaked acting, the worst part
the whole thing is CD CBS is selling
along with the mini-series. At S16.98
(plus S4.95) in shipping and han-
dling) the CD features songs from
the era the show attempts to depict,
covered by Blink 182, Bob Dylan
and Carole King. All those rock 'n'
roll fans who are not interested in
being offended at CBS's misuse of
the term and the image of rock 'n'
roll should tune out of CBS for this
covering that he
Tyler Hart, a
young rebel dis-
cares more about
making music than having keeping
his popular girlfriend.
Bonnie Sommerville plays Lyne
Danner, the cute air force brat who
turns Hart, the leader of his own
band, the "Country Shepherds," on
to "colored music." That happens to
be the area in which Tyler capital-
izes. Tyler and friends end up start-
ing their own band, "The
Heartaches," which eventually kicks
Danner, its life-force out, to keep the
Lesh, Trucks enthrall crowd, Dylan drags
By Mike Spahn
Daily Arts Writer
In a musical environment filled with
ies thirsting for improvisation and
ins, two time-tested musicians took to
the stage at the Breslin Center in East
And while Bob Dylan's name
Phil Lesh &
p Breslin Center
Nov. 2, 1999
many of the 10,000
fans at the Breslin
Center, it was Phil
Lesh and his sup-
porting cast who
stole the show.
onto the stage -
lights on, guitars in
jeans and T-shirts
- Phil Lesh and
almost akin to a
high school garage
band, not a group
headlining a tour
Incident's Michael Kang, brought with
him a formidable guitar duo: Warren
Haynes, the former Alman Brothers
Band member now playing with
Government Mule, and a lanky, young-
looking kid who appeared to be reading
music on stage before the show started.
But any questions about who that kid
with the blond hair was were answered
from the first note sounded on his
Gibson guitar - Derek Trucks, the 20
year-old phenom who himself toured
with the Allman Brothers Band for the
first time this summer and has been
wowing audiences since he first took the
stage at age 12, hooked up with Lesh for
only his second show of the tour.
From the first chords of the Dead clas-
sic "Terrapin Station," Trucks stole the
show from musicians decades his elder.
Playing songs made farrous by the leg-
endary Jerry Garcia, Trucks never
backed down, even though it was appar-
ent that he had little time to prepare for
the show. The 30-minute long rendition
of Terrapin slipped in and out of psyche-
delic interludes, all coordinated by Lesh,
whose voice has imp oved since Dead
fans would sarcastically call for him to
sing during shows.
But this crowd fel no sarcasm, danc-
ing through the entire set and screaming
out classic lines from the Dead songs.
Haynes seemed happy to support
Trucks for much of the show, but he, too,
showed spectacular ability during "Low
Spark of High-Heeled Boys," which he
led not only with searing guitar solos,
but also his soulful voice that lent power
to the Traffic classic.
The band moved back to Dead songs
after the Traffic interlude, jamming
Cumberland Blues -- a song that includ-
ed solos from Trucks and Haynes that
nearly tore the roof off of Breslin - and
China Doll, a ballad sung aptly by Lesh.
The band closed it's 90 minute set with a
funky, solo-filled "Midnight Hour."
As the buzz from the Lesh show died,
Dylan took the stage with his four-piece
band clad in cowboy gear.
The band began the show with a high-
energy acoustic set, topped off with a
reworked version of "Tangled Up in
Blue" that had the crowd cheering for
But the band slowly slipped into what
seemed to be a pre-canned routine: there
was little spontaneity, the set was obvi-
ously decided well in advance of the
show and Dylan classics appeared forced
and boring. New arrangements lost the
flare of "Like a Rolling Stone" and the
intimacy of "Just Like a Woman."
When the crowd appeared ready to
give up, Dylan did provide some hope
with a rousing version "Highway 61
Revisited" that for a brief moment re-
energized the crowd, but a five-song
encore (highlighted, much to the crowd's
delight, with "Rainy Day Woman" and
an acoustic "Blowin' in the Wind") did
not build on that momentum.
Throughout the show Dylan seemed
interested, but not energized or com-
pelling, and the results were easily seen
in a crowd that had refused to sit at all
during the Lesh set, but stood only spo-
radically for Dylan.
--- "Would you marry
this man for
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The University of Michigan
SCHOOL OF MUSIC
Friday, November 5, 8:00pm
H. Robert Reynolds, Conductor
Kevin Geraldi, Guest Conductor
* Canzon septimi toni No. 2, Gabrieli e Overture for Winds, op. 24,
Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy e George Washington Bridge,
Schuman "'Report, Lubos Fiser " Der Traum des Oenghus, op. 31a,
Rolf Rudin * English Folk Song Suite, Ralph Vaughan Williams
with one of music's foremost song writ-
'esh, the former Grateful Dead bassist
who has been traveling the West Coast
playing with musicians including Phish's
Trey Anastasio and String Cheese
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