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Sure I was in Los Angeles covering The 59th GRAMMYs, but that didn’t stop me from making some headlines in my local neighborhood’s blog.

I’m a big fan of Westside Rag if for nothing else, it keeps me updated on the latest openings and closings in the area, and that alone is a lot to track in this day-and-age of Gotham. Recently, I read on the site about complaints regarding noisy neighbors just blocks from my apartment.

These weren’t just any neighbors though; they were cast members from the latest season of “America’s Next Top Model.”

So when recently-eliminated contestant Paige Mobley stopped by our backstage broadcast inside LA’s Staples Center, well I felt compelled to bring these rumors to her. And I was surprised to hear her response.

Check the interview below and the WSR write-up here.

I walked out of my apartment on the Upper West Side to a SUV that had driven from Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. Melissa, who works for the casino’s PR department and Angela “Big Ang” Raiola traveled from Uncasville to pick me up. We were headed to Resorts Casino in Atlantic City, a property that Mohegan manages. The casino booked the “Mob Wives” star for a series of “Reality Check” events, and I was tapped to host the question-and-answer sessions in Atlantic City as well as Mohegan Sun Pocono in Wilkes Barre.

When I hopped in to the car, I immediately noticed one person missing: Ang. She had walked across the street to my bodega for a pack of cigarettes. On the way back, a few fans stopped her for photos, and she happily obliged.

“So you live around here?” she asked me once we hit the road. I mentioned that I had been at my apartment for at the time, a little over a year. “Nice neighborhood. A lot of good brunch spots.”

There are many things I’ll never forget about that weekend; hearing Ang, in that trademark Staten Island drawl of hers, offer up Yelp-like reviews of the brunch options on the Upper West Side is certainly one of them.

Another was during the trip down I-95 to AC when we diverted to a rest stop for food. I wasn’t too hungry so I just grabbed a coffee; Ang wanted to hit up Auntie Anne’s. We finished our purchases and head back in to the car. Ang bought pretzel dippers with sauce. And if you know me and my eating habits, you know they usually don’t involve pretzel dippers, with or without the sauce.

“Honey you want one?” asked Ang. I politely declined. I could tell that she was a little annoyed but we continued making small talk.

She asked two more times before finally offering up a look that is all-too-familiar to fans of her show.

“No, really. Have one.”

Before I could respond the pretzels were right in front of my face.

If you’re like me and you grew up in an Italian-American household, you’re probably having flashbacks and rightfully so. Ang was a tough but loving mother from Staten Island; not one to mince words and always making sure those around her were taken care of.
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And like any good Italian mother, if she offered food, you’d better accept.

Despite our pit stop, we arrived in Atlantic City with time to spare, so we headed over to the outlets that are a stone’s throw from the boardwalk. Yes, I went shopping with Ang. She was looking for clothes to buy her grandkids (always taking care of others); I was just happy to spot H&M.

Being out in public with Ang was an experience in itself. It didn’t matter whether it was a bar, nightclub, store or open-air shopping center: the woman always became the center of attention regardless if she was seeking it or not. Not only did everyone know who Ang was, but everyone felt like they knew Ang. She was as authentic as they come, especially for reality TV, and that’s what endeared her to so many fans.

“Ooh look at you! You made out!” she exclaimed when she saw the amount of clothes that I purchased. Of course, Ang had accumulated a few bags herself.

The event in Atlantic City went well and the next day we took off for Wilkes Barre. Another part of the weekend that’s unforgettable: Ang was always on time. She enjoyed herself, but she knew that we were there to work too.

The trip from AC to Northeastern Pennsylvania was a long one. Traffic on a side road the driver took was brutal, and by that point in the weekend, Ang had grown a bit tired. We made it to Mohegan Sun Pocono just in time for the appearance and of course, it was the best of the weekend. Ang was in great spirits on stage, trading barbs with me and the crowd while sipping on an alcoholic beverage; it was Cinco de Mayo after all.

“I’m not here for a long time; I’m here for a good time,” she said during our chat at MS Pocono, one of the last quotes she offered up before we wrapped.

I surely won’t forget that either. She truly was one-of-a-kind and someone who lived life on her terms. Ang – thanks for the memories, and the pretzel dippers.

In my first report for OK! TV, I went backstage at Hammerstein Ballroom during soundcheck for VH1’s “You Oughta Know” concert. Mary Lambert, Aloe Blacc, and American Authors all stopped by to chat about the show and what they’ve been up to this past year.

OK! TV airs in New York weeknights at 11:30 pm on WLNY TV (channel 55 on TWC/10 on FiOS).

In an interview that aired Monday evening on “The Ralphie Show,” Backstreet Boy Nick Carter revealed that he and his fiancé are currently shopping a new reality show to a large cable network.

“Lauren (Kitt) and I are… we’re in negotiations, talking with VH1 right now about possibly doing a reality show based on our wedding,” Carter said.

The program would give viewers a unique perspective on a former teen heartthrob officially exiting the market for good. But as the Backstreet Boys celebrate its twentieth anniversary this year, many fans have also moved on in their personal lives. Even the guys themselves are all married with children… with the exception of Carter.

“The running joke is that everyone says… (all of the Backstreet Boys) have kids except for Nick,” the singer states. “Well, Kevin is actually my dad.”

All kidding aside, the band has a busy summer ahead with the release of In A World Like This and the kickoff of its summer tour, both on July 30. Carter will then release a memoir in the fall, which he hopes will inspire others to overcome some of the demons that he has faced with regards to drug and alcohol abuse. There will of course be a marriage, and maybe a reality show mixed in. Through it all, it doesn’t seem the Backstreet Boys are planning on leaving the spotlight.

“In relation to other artists out there, I think our fans are kind of like KISS fans,” Carter noted. “They don’t care about anybody else out there. They love what we represent. It’s a great relationship that we have.”

Carter credits the fans and that relationship with the 20 year existence of BSB, and he wasn’t finished comparing their situation to others.

“There’s some groups out there that don’t even care, and take 10 years off, and then all of the sudden they come back,” the Backstreet Boy said – perhaps taking a dig at 98 Degrees, who basically did exactly that for the group’s recent reunion on “The Package Tour.” “This isn’t a reunion tour. We’ve been touring and making albums consistently even since Kevin left.”

Angela “Big Ang” Raiola called in to “The Ralphie Show” from Staten Island. The VH1 “Mob Wives” star talked about the drama on the show as well as her spin-off – “The Big Ang Show.” Of course, the interview with Ang was anything but ordinary – and you’d expect nothing less.

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“Big Ang” will be appearing at Resorts Casino in Atlantic City Saturday night and Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs on Sunday – both events hosted by yours truly.

Apparently one and a half years and a record that only sold 100,000 copies can change the way you feel about someone. Just ask singer Brandy Norwood, who revealed on television Sunday evening that her and long-time producer Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins aren’t on great terms.

During the latest installment of “Brandy & Ray J: A Family Business” on VH1 – Brandy’s little brother announces that he plans on working with Jerkins for his forthcoming LP. That does not sit well with big sis.

“You are talented, you can sing your ass off,” lectured Brandy to her younger sibling. “And to me, Rodney Jerkins better give you his best work because he did not give me his best work on Human.”

Human was the last album Brandy released. It only sold about 100,000 units – compared to her first project with Jerkins, the 1998 Never Say Never, certified five times Platinum.

Check out this clip from Sunday’s episode of “Brandy & Ray J: A Family Business” on VH1:

Now listen to this clip of Brandy speaking about “Darkchild” in an October 2008 interview on “The Ralphie Radio Show”:


“He better bring it on this album,” continued the songstress to Ray J – in a board room of the family’s new office space. “Or you tell him to kick rocks with an open toe shoe.”

Ouch, what a far cry from October 2008. A few months before Human dropped, Brandy called in to “The Ralphie Radio Show” and I asked her about the reunion with Jerkins.

“Rodney is a great guy. When we get together, he always finds a way to bring out the best in me,” she said during our conversation. “He’s hungry, you know? And I think he really wants to make an impact and inspire people with his music and, I think you always win when you want to do it from that place.”

I took it a step further – asking if her latest voyage in to the studio with Jerkins felt like her first – when such hits as “The Boy Is Mine” and “What About Us?” were hatched.

“It did feel the same way this time,” she replied. “You know working with him this go around felt like the old Brandy and Rodney. And that’s such a great feeling, I didn’t remember what that felt like. So, to have that feeling again and to be right at home with him and the rest of the ‘Darkchild’ camp was just truly refreshing and a blessing.”

Brandy and Jerkins later appeared on camera together and attempted to talk things through – with the singer even placing some of the blame off the producer and on to Epic Records. Still, what gives? Did Brandy embellish the beef to make good TV, or was she flat out lying 18 months ago on “The RRS”?

surprise surprise! apparently the second relationship bret michaels conceived on tv is finished, so now vh1 is planning a third edition of rock of love, with a twist.

the contestants compete on a tour bus, while michaels is on tour.

so basically, if you were still trying to obtain a std thanks to vh1, don’t worry, you’re in luck.
or something else for that matter. seems he looked a little out of it last night, as he inducted madge into the rock ‘n roll hall of fame.

vh1’s best week ever with more.
or something else for that matter. seems he looked a little out of it last night, as he inducted madge into the rock ‘n roll hall of fame.

vh1’s best week ever with more.