Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sammy Hagar: Van Halen Reunion a "Horror Fest"

Sammy Hagar, rock star even at a book signing.
Photo by: Brooke Niemeyer

Van Halen frontman Sammy Hagar says the group's reunion in 2004 wasn't what he wanted or expected it to be.

"The Van Halen reunion was a disappointment for me," Hagar said Tuesday night at the Borders in Columbus Circle. "I was just hoping it was going to be great and everybody was going to be happy and a big love fest and just go at it again but it wasn't like that at all. It was the complete opposite. It was a horror fest."

Hagar, also known as the "Red Rocker," said even with all the ups and downs in his life, he has no regrets.

"The past is done and there's no reason to mess with that," Hagar said. "I'm in a really good place right now and very happy with my life."

He added, "I wouldn't want to mess with this moment either because I'm living the dream. This is more than anyone could ever hope or dream for. I just hope that I can keep doing this thing exactly the way it is now. I don't want to fix anything and I have no regrets."

He released his book, "Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock," yesterday, which chronicles his experiences from childhood to becoming a headlining rock star. Hagar says that even though some of the book gets graphic, he will allow his four children to read it.

"My sons are one thing... but my little daughters I'm nervous about it still," Hagar said. "I may make them read the Keith Richards book first and then they're going to say 'My pops is like the funny papers.'"

This story ran on's NiteSide.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Suze Orman: "The American Dream is Dead"

Photo of Suze Orman courtesy of Getty Images

Financial expert Suze Orman proclaimed to a crowd at Barnes and Noble in Union Square last night that the American Dream is dead.

"The old American Dream is dead -- the dream where bigger, better, and more was the goal," Orman said Thursday night. "Those days are dead for the majority of America and I think that's great because it's a waste. It's a waste of energy. It's a waste of space. It's a waste of money that you were earning."

She added, "We have now entered what I'm calling 'the New American Dream,' which is a dream where you value who you are over what you have. You value your money more than the things your money can buy."

She released her 10th book, "The Money Class: Learn to Create Your New American Dream," this week and said its major theme is "to stand in your truth in every action, every word and every thought that you think."

"If you always do what is true all the time, I promise you will attract more love to you than you will ever have any idea what to do with," Orman said.

Orman answers viewers' questions about money and investments as the host of her CNBC program "The Suze Orman Show," as well as on segments of the "Today" show, but says her new book will give readers the financial education they need to have.

"You have got to read this book and take notes," Orman said. "When you open it up, the class is in session and it's going to be a class you won't want to miss."

This story ran on's NiteSide.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Author Discusses Women on Wall Street

Nina Godiwalla spoke about her new book at Borders.
Photo by: Brooke Niemeyer

Author Nina Godiwalla worked on Wall Street and revealed last night what inspired her to write the book "Suits: A Woman on Wall Street," which gives insight to what it's like to be a female investment banker.

"I wrote the book because I want people to learn and see what my experience was like," Godiwalla said Wednesday night at the Columbus Circle Borders. "When you can look at it and see what someone else did, I think it just helps you with your own career."

She explained that she believes the environment in that industry would improve if they started embracing differences more instead of discouraging them.

"The area I worked in was, in my opinion, a little more on the homogeneous side," Godiwalla said. "I found it was a little more challenging to be different. I felt like the culture was more like, you need to assimilate to what we are as opposed to let's be open and we all have different ideas. The hardest part for me was not having a voice or my own opinion."

After all of her experiences on the exchange floor, both positive and negative, Godiwalla says she doesn't discourage anyone from taking a job on Wall Street.

"If anyone can do it better than I can, more power to them," Godiwalla said. "The reality is, I felt like I made so many mistakes. I look back at the experience and I find it almost embarrassing."

Godiwalla is currently the CEO of MindWorks, a company she founded to train business professionals in stress management and meditation. She said she's going to spend some time focused on her company before starting on her next book.

This story ran on's NiteSide.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Inside the Jackie Robinson Foundation Awards Gala

Audry Quock and Russell Simmons on the red carpet before the awards gala.
Photo by: Brooke Niemeyer
The Jackie Robinson Foundation held its annual awards gala Monday night at the Waldorf Astoria in Midtown. The group paid tribute to Sean "Diddy" Combs, Ingrid Saunders Jones, and Joseph R. Parella for their humanitarian ideals. Check out the photo gallery I created from the red carpet for NBCNewYork.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Fashion Expert Stacy London Advises to Just Be Yourself

Photo of Stacy London courtesy of Getty Images

Fashionista Stacy London told a crowd at 92nd Street Y in the Upper East Side last night that the expectations put on women by the fashion industry to look a certain way sends out the wrong message.

"One of the things we need to remember is the impossible standard that's being set up before us," London said. "Aspiring to that standard denies us the opportunity to realize and experience how unique we all are."

She added, "There is nobody comparable to you. Not on any level really. You can never be somebody else. You can try your hardest -- gain weight, lose weight, cut your hair, change your lipstick -- I don't care. You're still going to be you and that's who you should be."

London is the co-host of the styling reality show "What Not To Wear," alongside Clinton Kelly, and said they live by the rule that trends are not the most important.

"You don't have to worry about the trends because trends are going to come and go," London said. "As long as you are dressing yourself in the best shapes and styles for your body, you're always going to look good."

While most people pass judgement on others, based on appearances, within the first three seconds of meeting and also judge their own appearance, London says she likes to have a different approach.

"My sister taught this to me -- don't judge, just notice," London said. "Judging is not what I want you to do with your body. I want you to notice and I want you to be really honest with yourself about what you like and don't like because then you can decide what you want to highlight and what you want to camouflage."

She also advised all women to remember to embrace who they are and dress for their bodies, not an unrealistic model walking down a fashion runway.

"If we don't aspire to what's realistic, we'll always have a sense of failure," London said. "If you are busy comparing yourself to an unrealistic standard of beauty, what hope do you have of actually dressing yourself?"

This story ran on's NiteSide.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Meredith Baxter: "I Would Drink All the Way Home from the Family Ties Studio"

Meredith Baxter photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Meredith Baxter, best known for her role as Elyse Keaton on the '80s sitcom "Family Ties," revealed Wednesday night that she used to drink at least a tumbler full of wine driving home from the studio every day because of her unhappy marriage.

"I would drink all the way home from the Family Ties studio," Baxter said at the Barnes & Noble in Union Square. "I didn't stop drinking until the marriage [to actor David Birney] was over. Drinking had started to serve a purpose for me because I was so unhappy and had no place to put it."

In her new book, "Untied: A Memoir of Family, Fame, and Floundering," Baxter discusses her family life, battles with alcoholism and breast cancer, as well as coming out as a lesbian on the "Today" show in 2009.

"I knew that it was a woman that I would find myself," Baxter said. "I felt a safety and a music in a way that I hadn't before."

Baxter was married three times before coming out and meeting her current partner, Nancy Locke, and compares discovering her true sexual orientation to finding the right religion.

"I can only relate it to people who have been looking for a kind of religion in their life," Baxter said. "They try out Presbyterianism and then they check out the Methodists and they go to a couple temples and they listen to a few rabbis and then they find Buddhism and they say, 'Okay, I like their tenets here ... and this is where I want to be.' That's pretty much how it was for me."

When asked how it compared to beating breast cancer, Baxter said there was no contest.

"Breast cancer was a piece of cake," Baxter said. "I never really was present for the breast cancer because other stuff was going on, but coming out was more important. It was a choice."

This story ran on's NiteSide.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bourdain Says Chefs Love Gabrielle Hamilton's Memoir

Gabrielle Hamilton and Anthony Bourdain at Barnes & Noble Union Square.
Photo by: Brooke Niemeyer

Gabrielle Hamilton, the head chef of Prune in the East Village, says her favorite dish at her restaurant is something she eats on a daily basis.

"I probably eat a dozen radishes with butter and kosher salt every day of my life," Hamilton said. "I probably have a can of boneless, skinless sardines every day too."

Hamilton released her new memoir, "Blood, Bones, and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef," and spoke about it with Anthony Bourdain Tuesday night at the Barnes & Noble in Union Square.

Bourdain, who hosts "Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations" on the Travel Channel, said the book is popular not only with Hamilton's fans, but among their fellow chefs as well.

"They've all read it, and I'm talking about chefs that read one or two books every five years," Bourdain told Hamilton. "They all read the book and they all love it."

Hamilton sold the rights to this book five years ago and said that, even though it was just released on Tuesday, she only started working on it about a year ago.

"It took a long time," Hamilton said. "It's like asking how long it took you to finish college if you went to night school part-time. I have a full time job as the chef of a restaurant and the owner. At the time I sold the book I had a baby and another one coming out. Everything I wanted in the whole world happened all at once, so it took a little while."

The memoir has prompted her family and friends to ask when it will be coming to the big screen, but Hamilton has another goal she wants to achieve first.

"I just want to move to a bigger apartment," Hamilton said. "I live in a one-bedroom East Village apartment with my two sons and every time I take a shower, I'm stepping on Legos. ... If this book is successful, that would be great. That's success for me."

This story ran on's NiteSide.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Museum of the Moving Image Salutes Alec Baldwin

Alec Baldwin on the red carpet at Cipriani.
Photo by: Brooke Niemeyer

The Museum of the Moving Image saluted Alec Baldwin Monday night for his years of acting in film and television.

"I'm very honored to be here," Baldwin said as he walked the red carpet at Cipriani in Midtown. "I've been doing this for a while and when you start to get old like I am, they start giving you these awards. I've got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame now too. I'm getting old."

For many years, Baldwin mainly took on film roles, but now is in his fifth season alongside Tina Fey on the hit NBC series "30 Rock."

He revealed his secret to Niteside of how to be a successful comedic actor.

"I had an opportunity to do a TV show and most comedy involves one central thing -- you have to make an ass of yourself," Baldwin said. "It's not about looking good. You're not playing James Bond. I would love to be James Bond, but I'm not James Bond. They hired somebody else for that, so I make an ass of myself on the show and we've had a lot of fun."

With his experience in both film and television, Baldwin said being a part of "30 Rock" has been one of the best things for him.

"Sometimes the hardest thing to get in movies is an audience, but TV people stay with you," Baldwin said. "They like the show and they watch it every week and we have a great response with our show."

This story ran on's NiteSide.

Jimmy Fallon Shares His Best Alec Baldwin Memory With Niteside

Jimmy Fallon came to support his SNL friend Alec Baldwin.
Photo by: Brooke Niemeyer
Jimmy Fallon has worked with Alec Baldwin on "Saturday Night Live" and so he was on hand to celebrate the Museum of the Moving Image salute to Baldwin Monday night.

Fallon explained to Niteside why he was instructed to call his family immediately after meeting Baldwin for the first time.

"I remember when I first started on 'Saturday Night Live,' he said, 'What's your name, new guy?' I said, 'It's Jimmy Fallon' and he goes, 'Jimmy Fallon I'm going to say your name more than anyone has ever said your name on television tonight. So tell your parents to watch and all your friends.'"

Fallon added, "I counted six times he said my name that night and I was just freaking out. My parents and everyone was calling the next day. It's a big deal when you're first starting out. I'll never forget that."

There was no question that Fallon appreciates Baldwin, not only as an actor, but also as a friend.

"He's the greatest guy in the world," Fallon said. "He's a gentleman and a great guy."

This story ran on's NiteSide.

Actress Amy Ryan Hopes to Return to Broadway

"The Office" star Amy Ryan at Cipriani in Midtown.
Photo by: Brooke Niemeyer

Amy Ryan came out to support her friend and fellow actor Alec Baldwin last night at the Museum of the Moving Image's Salute to Alec Baldwin, where she revealed to Niteside that she would like to return to her acting roots on the stage.

"I would like to do a play again before I forget how," Ryan said on the red carpet at the Cipriani in Midtown. "I want to stay home in New York. I've been traveling a lot so if I could find a job here that would be fantastic."

She was nominated twice in 2000 for the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play for her role in the Broadway show "Uncle Vanya" and again in 2005 for her role in "A Streetcar Named Desire."

Ryan has a film called "Win Win" due out later this month, which she stars opposite Paul Giamatti. She can now be seen opposite Steve Carell on "The Office" and said she just returned from shooting her final episode on the show.

"I am very sad to leave it," Ryan said. "But all good things must come to an end, I suppose."

This story ran on's NiteSide.

Stars Salute Alec Baldwin

Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin share a laugh on the red carpet.
Photo by: Brooke Niemeyer

The Museum of the Moving Image Salute to Alec Baldwin was held at the Cipriani in midtown Monday night, honoring him for his work in films and television - including his roles in It's Complicated, 30 Rock, Saturday Night Live, and Along Came Polly. Baldwin is the 26th Honoree of this award.

What an evening. I met Alec Baldwin, Tina Fey, Amy Ryan, Jimmy Fallon, Ben Stiller, Richard Gere, Bob Balaban and many others. Check out the photo gallery I created from the night for NBCNewYork.

Bob Balaban Thinks Alec Baldwin Would Make A Great Philanthropist

Actor Bob Balaban on the red carpet.
Photo by: Brooke Niemeyer

Alec Baldwin has hinted that after his contract expires with "30 Rock," he will be pursuing something new, and actor Bob Balaban told Niteside what he thinks that should be.

"He could just sit back and be a philanthropist," Balaban said Monday night at Cirpriani in Midtown. "He's really interested in his community ... and he puts his heart where his mouth is. He shows up for every good thing that he cares about and supports it."

Balaban added, "I could think he could he could happily make his life by doing something kind of political but really by supporting the causes he cares about because he's very tuned into that."

Balaban worked alongside Baldwin in the 1990 film "Alice" and came to support Baldwin on the night the Museum of the Moving Image honored him with a Salute, which Balaban said is well deserved.

"I love him -- we've done a lot of things together," Balaban said. "The idea that he figured out to be this handsome leading man who did movies where he was so serious you thought you would die or he would kill you or something bad would happen, it turns out to be that he's just the funniest person."

Balaban said that Baldwin's role as Jack Donaghy on the TV series "30 Rock" is very fitting for him.

"He loves being funny," Balaban said. "I think it makes him happy. I think the idea that he spends his time doing comedies now, it's lighting up his whole life."