I've been a shameless "fan girl" for as long as I can remember, and I've always had a current big obsession - or two - at any given point in my life, plus other less-obsessive but much loved fan interests as well. Here are some current and past faves that have captured my attention... and still do, to one degree or another...

1950's ROCK 'N ROLL

My all-time favorite style and era of music. Period. Despite the fact that I was born about two decades too late to have grown up with this music, it speaks to me like no other genre, and I've adopted it as my own. The uptempo dance numbers were just flat-out fun, and the love ballads were utterly, unabashedly romantic. Who could resist getting up and bopping to "Rock Around The Clock," or slow-dancing with her sweetheart to "Earth Angel?" It would take a stronger woman than I am, my friends...

The reason I fell in love with classic rock 'n roll in the first place. I became a big fan of this amazing rock revival band back in the early '80's when their terrific TV variety show was on (see TV section below for more on the series), and Sha Na Na's fun-loving renditions of the oldies made me a diehard lover of that era of music. Ironically, their versions were often superior to the orignals, they're that good. I saw them a couple of times in concert during the early '90's, and while I wish Johnny (see below) had still been with them then, they nevertheless put on a fantastic show. And I have an autographed "From The Streets of New York" cassette insert as a cherished memento of one of those concerts. The guys were very kind, and it was a real thrill to meet them and see them live. Rock and roll is here to stay, it will never die...as long as these guys are still keeping the oldies alive! (over 30 years so far, with three of the old gang still around today!)

Johnny was the beautiful, Italian dark- curly-haired resident teen idol of Sha Na Na, and I immediately fell madly in love with him. What girl wouldn't? He was just amazingly beautiful, blessed with a heartbreakingly gorgeous tenor voice - not to mention the killer falsetto of all time, and hot dance moves that would put Ricky Martin to shame. Why he didn't become a huge solo artist after leaving the group remains a great mystery, he certainly had everything it takes. Could it be that he was just *too* talented for the cold, synthesized '80's?... Anyway, besides lending his incredible voice to Sha Na Na, Johnny also released two solo LPs - "Changeover," which was a pop-oriented mixture of love ballads and uptempo dance numbers; and "Ballads for Lovers," a collection of gorgeous, timeless classic love songs. If you're unfamiliar with this truly gifted vocalist, dig out your copy of the Grease soundtrack (come on, you know you've got a copy, everyone does!) - that's him singing lead on "Those Magic Changes." I remain a happily, hopelessly backslidden Contardoholic for life...

He was the big male vocalist winner on Star Search during the show's first season (1983-84) and went on to carve out a career for himself that's been full of ups and downs, and a whole lot of success. And, did I mention, the kid from Sand Springs, Oklahoma can SING? Sam has a huge, glorious voice that must be heard to be believed - he can shake the rafters and leave the audience breathless and begging for more. After his huge success on Star Search, he released two albums for Motown, which did moderately well (mainly the first one), but due to problems with the label, Sam left to pursue other avenues. He's toured the country in a production of Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, starred on Broadway in the initial run of the revival of Grease with Rosie O'Donnell(ironically, his big solo number was "Those Magic Changes" - the same one Johnny performed in the film version), and in The Life (for which he earned a Tony nomination), released more albums, appeared on Rosie, Oprah and many other TV shows, and has appeared in concerts and other shows all across the country. I had the privilege of meeting Sam on three occasions after seeing him in shows he did, and on top of his incredible talent, he's also the sweetest, nicest, most gracious person you'd ever want to meet.

I've been a big fan since the early '80's. Sting has one of the greatest voices around, and his intelligent, thoughtful lyrics are always fascinating. As a band, the Police *rocked*! From the raw new- wave energy of their first album, "Outlandos d'Amour," to the "world music" sound of "Zenyatta Mondotta" and the sophisticated "Synchronicity," they never failed to make a statement - or to make you want to get up and dance.

This country-rock band shared the Star Search stage with the aforementioned Sam Harris during the first season of the variety show, also winning their category (Best Vocal Band). They went on to become a huge success, especially on the concert circuit. Their high-energy shows prove that country boys can rock too! They may not get their due respect from the snobbier critics and country purists who think that music should be deadly serious instead of, heaven forbid, fun, but...who cares what they think? The boys have earned their share of awards and still sell lots of records, and their fans adore them. Life is good...

I grew up on this classic gothic serial (ABC, 1966-71) and rediscovered it again in re-runs in the late '70's when I was in high school. Vampires, ghosts, werewolves and all sorts of spooky things abounded on Dark Shadows . Barnabas Collins, the tragic hero/reluctant vampire of the show, was a fascinating character. Cursed by a jealous witch to live as one of the undead throughout eternity, Barnabas, as beautifully played by Jonathan Frid, made you care. And, as much as the show was permeated with the supernatural, that was merely window dressing, a backdrop to the very heart of the show, which was the very human characters, their lives, loves and family secrets. Compelling storytelling, and terrifc acting. Catch the re-runs on the Sci-Fi Channel every morning...

(See above listing in the Music category) These cute, talented greasers shot to fame when they did their own syndicated TV variety show (1977-81). Fun, silly comedy skits, great guest stars, fantastic music, lots of gold lame, and the coolest choreography (love those Spanish turns) - what more could a bobbysoxer wannabe like me wish for?

What every TV comedy wishes it could be. Cybil Shepherd and Bruce Willis teamed up for this smart, sexy, funny comedy/drama series, as Maddie Hayes, the ice princess/former model/private detective, and David Addison, the streeet-smart wise guy with a heart of gold who was her partner at the Blue Moon Detective Agency. The writing was quick, razor-sharp and hilarious, and the chemistry between the two stars was palpable. The ever-bickering duo could make you collapse in laughter, or touch your heart in unexpectedly tender moments, as Dave and Maddie slowly learned to realize and accept the very real feelings between them. Admittedly, the show went downhill during the last season or so, but in its heydey, there was nothing, absolutely nothing, better on television. And there will never be anything like it again...


My favorite movie of all time. I remember fondly watching it every year when it came on television - what kid didn't love Dorothy and her grand adventures in Emerald City? But, the funny thing is, I find that, as an adult, I get more out of it now than I did as a child. Lessons about love, loyalty, friendship, and how there truly *is* no place like home - and "Over The Rainbow" (my favorite song) still brings a lump to my throat every time. If you haven't seen it in a while, don't you think it's bout time to give your inner child a treat?

I love this musical!! From the first time I saw it in the theatre when it first came out, I was hooked. The retro-'60's-with-a-modern-twist music by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman is clever and irresistibly fun, from the catchy title song, to Audrey's wistful "Somewhere That's Green," and the hilarious "Dentist!" to Seymour and Audrey's heartfelt love song, "Suddenly, Seymour." And rarely, if ever, has a movie so skillfully blended so many elements - great music, romance, horror, comedy, drama, tragedy, satire - and made each element work so perfectly. This is pure cinematic magic, and the most fun you can possibly have at the movies. Check it out!


The mother of all cult films, yet, unlike most, this one actually stands alone on its own merits. The story of two young innocents encountering a mad scientist and his latest creation - imagine Young Frankenstein directed by David Lynch - is wild, to be sure. But somehow, beneath the madness and the glitter, there's a good-natured, retro innocence to it. The rock 'n roll soundtrack is pure fun - "Time Warp," anyone? And, then, there's the amazing TIm Curry, who steals the show as the dazzling, demented Dr.Frank-N-Furter. See it in a theatre at least once to get the total effect of the audience participation, if you're brave (I played Magenta for a while in a local cast, and I had a blast!). Otherwise, the DVD is a lot of fun too. Don't dream it, be it, baby...


Can you tell yet how much I love movie musicals, and the '50's? John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John are vibrant and perfectly-cast as the quintessential high school couple, Stockard Channing is terrific as bad- girl-with-heart-of gold Rizzo, and of course, Sha Na Na rocks the house as Johnny Casino and the Gamblers, the band at the big school dance. An affectionate but not overly sugar-coated look back at the era, and great songs that you know you love. Come on, sing along..."Summer lovin', had me a blast. Summer lovin', happened so fast..."


There's just something about a handsome, older Englishman with a great sense of style, and an even greater sense of humor. Richard was witty, sophisticated, and oh-so-cool as the popular panelist on Match Game, warm, funny and sharp as the host of Family Feud, and deliciously menacing as game show host from hell Damon Killian in the film The Running Man, ruthlessly skewering his Feud image in the performance of his career. Charming, intelligent, gentlemanly, and always in touch with his silly inner child, even as he looked sharp in those impeccably-tailored three piece suits complete with that yummy pocket watch. A fascinating man...


Speaking of handsome older Englishmen... The star of the aforementioned Rocky Horror has enjoyed a long and varied career, playing the title role in the excellent BBC miniseries The Life and Times of William Shakespeare, a seductively menacing Cardinal Richelieu in The Three Musketeers, the hapless butler Wadsworth in the side- splitting British murder mystery-comedy Clue, and Long John Silver in Muppet Treasure Island. He's also earned a couple of Tony nominations for his work on Broadway, recorded three albums back in the 70's (he's got a great voice!) and is still busy with films and lots of voice-over work today. A truly great actor and always a commanding screen presence.


I'm a big figure skating fan, and the best is 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist, Scott Hamilton. Aptly dubbed "Skate God for Life," he took figure skating to a whole new level, founding the hugely popular "Stars on Ice" tour, and made skating FUN! His routines were high-energy, hilarious, and flat-out entertaining. Who could forget his famous "Cuban Pete," "Hair," or "Figaro" routines? Or that even more famous backflip? Scott fought the odds to achieve his status as one of the most respected skaters in the history of the sport (read his inspiring autobiography Landing It for the whole story), and he is the epitome of professionalism, class and showmanship. I got to see him skate during his final two seasons of the "Stars on Ice" tour, and I'll never forget it. Scott, you rock!