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POP INTERVIEW: Comedy/Entertainment Radio Hosts Benjamin Viele and Alexander Rodriguez

I was minding my own business as I did my usual intellectual things bettering humanity: drying off my self tanner on a nice walk, eating diet ice cream and casually dropping large sums of cash at Gucci. All of a sudden, these two borderline-psychotic guys showed up threatening to force me into the nearest religious cult center if I did not interview them at once for Pop Goes The Week.

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I was minding my own business as I did my usual intellectual things bettering humanity: drying off my self tanner on a nice walk, eating diet ice cream and casually dropping large sums of cash at Gucci. All of a sudden, these two borderline-psychotic guys showed up threatening to force me into the nearest religious cult center if I did not interview them at once for Pop Goes The Week. I quickly learned when they aren’t converting people out on Rodeo Drive via kidnapping them in large, homemade burlap sacks, they are professional comedians co-hosting a really cool LA-based entertainment radio show called Happy Hour with Ben and Alexander, have a YouTube reality show and do incredible event planning on the side. So, they weren’t escaped convicted felons after all. Who knew?

Benjamin Viele and Alexander Rodriguez

People know you as being a comedy duo. And while that’s lovely and I love it myself, I want to showcase you guys as businessmen first. So let’s talk all about what you do with your event planning. What goes on? Tell us everything about events you have planned, what goes into the job, etc.
Alexander: We have planned everything from movie release parties, birthday parties, live concerts, to non-profit fundraising events. We really go out of our way to think outside the box and offer the audience a unique experience. There are so many events in Los Angeles and so many of those events are exactly the same as the other – let me yawn and poor me another martini! We want the attendees to remember the point of the event and who threw it – the best advertising is word of mouth. You definitely remember that you have been to a Sa Sa Production – and if you don’t remember it, we have the blackmail pictures, I mean evidence.

Benjamin: And not only do we have the event planning, we also have a product that will be hitting the market soon. The patents are being worked out now, but I can proudly say it’s a pretty sexy product and I think a lot of people will respond to it! Shit, hopefully anyway!! Ha Ha

When embarking on creating a radio show, such as yours, what steps need to be made?
Alexander: Well, you need to have a voice. Radio doesn’t work with mute people very well, oh and you have to have killer hair – just ask Ben. Seriously, you need to have a clear point of view and create a program that is entertaining and accessible to your intended audience. Add some intrigue for the casual listener and you quickly grow your fanbase. It’s instrumental to have a mentor in the business. Ann Walker & Tony Sweet, the owners of Universal Broadcasting Network (where we broadcast from) have been amazing to us, guiding us along the way in setting up our show and showing us the ropes. The fact that Ben and I can laugh ourselves into a stupor even in jail doesn’t hurt – we always have something to laugh or talk about – that is refreshing among this day and age where media seems so full of gloom and doom.

Benjamin: Hey man, don’t hate on the hair!! He’s jealous because he has to flat iron every morning!! SA SA! But the shows seem to be falling into place! Alexander and I seem to think on the same twisted frequency, so our sense of humor allows us to maybe think we are funnier than we really are!!

Sometimes, you might worry about a guest not talking. It happens! When it does, what do you do to fill the air time naturally?
Alexander: Well, we start off the show by pouring drinks for ourselves and our guests. If they aren’t entertaining by the middle of the show, we have them bound and gagged and shipped off to Calcutta. Being best friends, Ben and I have a great way to communicate with non verbals so we know when to take the show back over from our guests if they aren’t really working out. We love talking about ourselves, so it isn’t hard. ; ) We also have about two pages of notes by our side, our “emergency topics”, filled with funny news, hot Hollywood topics, or funny memory stories to take over if our guests don’t deliver. Or sometimes we just turn their microphone off.

Benjamin: OH MY GOD, I guess we’re gag and bounding people mid show now! JUST KIDDING!! Not literally, but answering the question, if you put a few drinks in front of most people they tend to loosen up. Then we have to get them to shut up not speak up…with love of course!!

Some of the stuff you post on your blog is really funny. Like the “Who wore it best?” fight off with the leotard: Beyonce at the Super Bowl 2013 vs. Rocky Horror. Is this your intent with your radio show’s theme, to be the gigglefest that lifts people up when they have a bad day?
Alexander: There is so much media covering the international warfare, the economy, politics and other deep stuff (do you like how I said deep stuff?). We never pretend to be that kind of media – we never take ourselves too seriously, and neither should our audience. We represent that time of the week where you really can just lean back and enjoy some funny chat and stop worrying about the crappy things in life. It truly is happy hour, regardless of if you drink or not – you never know how happy hour is going to end up, but you do know that you will spend some time with friends, have some laughs, and walk away with a smile. We offer that, just without the bill. When people are having a really shitty day, they can click on our show and laugh with us…or at us.

Benjamin: Exactly! When we first started talking about what we wanted our show/brand to be about, we both agreed we wanted everyone to have fun when they saw us or were with us! We all need to loosen up a bit and not take everything so seriously! As cliché as its sounds, life truly is extremely short, and we choose to have a little fun with it!!!

What is your opinion of Kanye West and his girlfriend, whose name I guess I don’t need to mention? Some K lady.
Alexander:
 They say that great minds think alike. I guess the others just date and have babies. When they get married, Ben & I will interrupt the wedding and say, “I’m sorry, but Kris Humphries had one of the best weddings of all time. Oh wait…” then slink off to the open bar waiting for our E! Television spin off.

Benjamin: And there you have it folks!! HAHAHAHAHAHA All I can say is what the hell?!?!?! It’s kind of like the scene in Pretty Woman… “Kit, his bathroom is bigger than the Blue Banana..” Kits response.. “DO I HAVE TO HEAR THIS!?!?!!”

If she ever doesn’t want to stay married to him past two months, would you consider going on a date with Kim or Kanye? Or both? Do you think I have a shot just to get free publicity for my cookbooks if I dated Kim or Kanye?
Alexander:
 I’d rather be stranded on an island with Donald Trump…and his hair. If you dated Kim or Kanye (hell, date them both) – your cookbook would definitely get some great publicity. What would the title be? Talented Cooking for the Untalented? For Kim. Don’t Interrupt Me, I’m Cooking! For Kanye.

Benjamin: OOHH HELL NO!! I think that question almost gave me a slight anxiety attack!! They’re all yours!!! TAKE EM!!!!

Who is your favorite pop culture personality now to laugh about? I realize how mean that sounds now that I say it. D’oh. But I myself laugh at people’s bad outfits in tabloids.
Alexander: The tabloids are really fun – if I wasn’t so cheap I would actually subscribe to all of the trash mags instead of just reading them in the aisle of the supermarkets while I buy my wine and ice cream. What I find more entertaining than Lindsay falling down (which is pant peeing material) or awful outfits (I live in Los Angeles, home to the What the Hell Are Those Pants Brigade) – is the way that the media turns on their favorite stars. They build up the newcomers or the award winners but the minute they are seen picking their nose or slapping a pony they are torn apart! Its kind of scary the power that the tabloids have. I think they are single handedly responsible for Liz & Dick. Unforgiveable.

Benjamin: Can I say the Housewives Chain??? It’s a plethora of choices at any given moment!! Outfits, one liners, shit stirring drama, these women are off the hook and I LOVE It!!!!!

Have either of you thought about giving all of this up and pursuing a career more like Courtney Stodden’s?
Alexander: I’m not as talented as Courtney, although we are both lactose intolerant. If I wasn’t doing this, I think I would have a fantastic career of selling oranges on the freeway. I have that winning smile.

Benjamin: Ahh man, bless her heart! What else can you say! Sweet Jesus!!!!!

Benjamin, you are from a town called Illiopolis, Illinois. I am actually from Illinois and love it there so much. Problem is, I can’t find you on the map. Are you anywhere near where I am from, Chickaboomboomwow, which is south of St. Louis and near Lake Michigan? We have a great high end shopping district. Perhaps you’ve heard of us.

*ONE SECOND LATER*

Grrr! In all seriousness, I Googled it and found it’s a real 900-people village in Sangamon County, where our state capital is, so now I feel bad for teasing you. 😛 With that in mind, did you ever hang out at the Capitol and remember seeing me when I was in Springfield from 2002-2005ish? I bet I saw you at the state fair or the movies? As you and I know well, Illinois is the size of a large man’s back and, OK, everyone is everyone’s cousin there. We may even be related. From Illinois to LA, what is the story of how you both met in California?
Alexander: I was headlining at the Roxy and Ben begged to be in my act. The rest is history. Actually, Ben was bartending during Happy Hour and I wanted free drinks.

Benjamin: Uh huh!! WHATS UP NOW!!! I do come from a “village” but damn it I am beyond proud of that little town! I learned so much about family, community, morals, values, and trusting people. It was an extremely long journey to get to L.A. Most people choose to not take the route I did. Most of my friends chose to stay in the area, and that’s awesome, it just wasn’t for me! And if you were there during that time, you probably would have seen me at good ole Fitclub, or slinging bottles over at Chilis!! Holy crap you probably did know me back then!!!

With all the losers you could meet in Los Angeles, because admit it, you two are really a pair of losers with a capital “L” like “Clueless,” what made you two think you were a great team a la “Dumb and Dumber?” And who of you counts as the “dumber” individual, anyway?
Alexander: No, sweetie, we are not Dumb and Dumber – I wouldn’t be caught dead with that hair. Actually, we are much closer to Romi and Michelle for sure, down to the gym outfits. I’m the Mary, he’s the Rhoda. The minute we met, I knew this smart mouthed, stubborn, sassy pants, frustrating, loud mouthed, Italian gesturing, Christina listening, medical card owning, nacho eating freak would be my best friend. Well, at least until Kanye shows up.

Benjamin: He does wear neon shorts at the gym!! I’ll be the dumber! What the hell, someone’s got to do it! And all I can say is I’m having the time of my life!! And, Annelle, you gotta lighten up!!!!

How exactly does a YouTube reality show work? How do you edit this so it is as appealing, or as dreadful, your pick, as cable TV reality?
Alexander: Editing? What’s that? Our reality show is not like cable TV reality – ours is real. Just like happy hour, we don’t try to be something we are not. Called “You’re Driving Me Crazy” – it is literally Ben & me on camera in the car with all of our shenanigans that go along with it. Its not like a dramatic telenovela of our lives. When we are in the car roaming around, we sing, we dance, Ben smokes – I complain about it, we fight, we talk about stupid stuff, we laugh..Ben smokes – I complain about it, we run into celebrities, I run into all kinds of things from parking posts to signs to buildings to small animals, we chat people up in the other cars and Ben smokes – I complain about it. It’s a carryover from our radio show, but our audience gets to sit in the car with us. Without the smells.

Benjamin: Every day is dramatic telenovela with Alexander!! That’s what so appealing! But seriously, this isn’t scripted and the editing is simply cutting out dead time to create shorter, funnier clips. But what happens, happens! What’s said is said, and so forth.

Why aren’t you having something peculiar happen on the show? Like marrying Hugh Hefner, getting plastic surgery, using up a lot of money on a Black American Express credit card, stepping out of a car with no underwear, etc…ALL IN THE SAME DAY? Hello, ratings? You guys are pathetic.
Alexander: Peculiar? Have you seen Ben’s dancing on our show? I think what makes our humor appealing and part of our charm is that we are not peculiar or out of the ordinary. We are the two fun guys that live next door that are always losing their keys, borrowing alcohol, or passing out on your couch – you love us! I haven’t stepped out of a car with no underwear, but I have stumbled out of a car in full goth kid gear (chains, spikes and black makeup) when I thought I was a club kid – the cop asked me to step out of the car and my chains got snagged on the gear shift and yanked me back – very Emo. I think this was last week.

Benjamin: And I AM DOWN FOR EVERY ONE OF THOSE THINGS!! U in Ms. Thing??

Your show absolutely sucks. I know this without clicking on a single episode to watch it because I assume it must be like “The Kardashians” on E! So therefore, why should I or anyone else with half a brain left watch it? Is this funny or would I have more fun sweeping leaves at my grandma’s house? Because really, the leaves seem like a better option.
Alexander: Why is your grandmother’s house on stilts? Well, I know for a fact that your grandmother loves us and is a huge fan – furthermore she doesn’t want you on her lawn anymore, she has enough lawn gnomes. We are funny because we don’t try to be. We don’t sit around and tell jokes or do standup. We laugh at life and all it has to offer. We put the fun back in funeral. We are the ones putting whoopee cushions in the boardroom. We are the ones breakdancing in the grocery store because we don’t care. Even if our antics are stupid, you still will smile and say, “Aw Shucks….Alexander is the Mary!

Benjamin: HAHAHHAA….You’ve got him going after your grandma now!!!! This is funny! It’s not glamourized or plumped full of fillings!! It’s friends being creative, building a company, and living life in LA and trying bring some sort of happiness and laughter to a kind of pissed off world!

How can people listen to your radio show, smell your fragrance, etc.? What projects are in the works? Talk about it all here. Like anyone is reading, but assume people care about you two as a charitable contribution to society.
Alexander: We broadcast live every Tuesday from Sunset Gower Studios at the Universal Broadcasting Network. Our radio show is streamable, downloadable, iTuneable, facebookable…hell, for a bottle of vodka we will even come to your house and recreate the last episode. We actually have a huge project in the works that will incorporate our radio and YouTube show all for charity. You can find us on iTunes – just search for Happy Hour with Ben & Alexander, or on ubnradio.com, and of course, our website sasaproductions.com Check us out!!!!

Benjamin: We do have some major projects in the works. We are partnering with the American Cancer Society and producing a huge event back in Springfield, IL actually! I lost my best friend to cancer ten years ago, my grandfather was just diagnosed with lung cancer before Christmas, and I’ve had some extremely important people in my life affected with it as well. We are going to be doing a drive-a-thon from Los Angeles to Springfield and producing our cabaret show back at the Hoogland Center for the Arts in Springfield, IL. We hope to be able to present the American Cancer Society with a large check at the show, and there are many more components to this but we are working them out right now sooo.. STAY TUNED FOR UPDATES!!

And we have a product that will be hitting the market soon! Patents are being written and we are working on the packaging, but it’s definitely something that everyone’s going to want to enjoy!! We’ve got some pots on the fire man!! Life is pretty great!! SA SA!!

Design

Get The Look! A Buyer’s Guide To Brian Balthazar’s Philadelphia Home Redesign

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As the world was forced to spend more time at home, Brian Balthazar found himself in a position where he had sold a house before the lockdown and had to find a new one.

“We sold our home with all the furniture in it, so not only did we find ourselves struggling to find a new place, once we found one we didn’t have any furniture to put in it.”

And so, Brian and partner Dennis got resourceful, turning to refurbishing and buying store floor models. They were inspired to make bold, fun choices in color and style when they started shopping around for wallpaper.

Below is the segment as it appeared on the Today Show, and further down, a rundown of where you can find the pieces or ones with a similar look!

THE DINING ROOM

Let’s start with the Dining Room!

Move the slider dividing the image to see all of the before or all of the after!

Brian saysThe dining room was the first space we wanted to do. I haven’t had a true dining room since I was a kid, and I’ve always wanted a big table for dinner parties! There were no tables within the price range we wanted, so we found a floor model at one of our favorite go-to stores, Arhaus. We easily saved 75 percent on this table by getting the one that they weren’t going to carry anymore. The chairs are from Wayfair.  On each side of the fireplace (not seen in the photo, but visible in the Today Show video) are two black tall lanterns flanking the fireplace. I got them at Target. I can’t currently find them on their app, but similar versions pop up every year. Get thee to Homegoods! Homegoods and Homesense (same parent company) are my go-to spots for home accessories for virtually every room in the house. You never know what you’re going to find, which is part of the fun.

But let’s focus on the real WOW element to this room – the wallpaper! This pattern is called Bellewood, by RebelWalls.   As you will soon see, I’m sort of obsessed with their patterns. To me, this room is magical with the added whimsy of this forest pattern. (They also have a more muted version with grays and even one with blues.) I also love that by hanging the paper from the chair rail up, you almost get the feeling that you’re standing on a balcony overlooking the forest. I surrounded the whole room with this paper, which I love, but you could easily add the same magical feeling by just doing one feature wall. Their website shows how it can translate to a bedroom or office. You might be intimidated by hanging wallpaper but don’t be! This pattern has so much going on that it really looks perfect when it goes up!

ON TO THE GUEST BEDROOM!

GUEST BEDROOM AFTER
GUEST BEDROOM AFTER
GUEST BEDROOM AFTER
GUEST BEDROOM BEFORE
GUEST BEDROOM BEFORE
THE GUEST BEDROOM

Brian says: The guest bedroom is on the top floor of the house, so it’s got roof lines on two sides that make it a tricky space to navigate if you’re not careful. The planning of this space alone resulted in a few bonked heads. On the upside, the wall where the bed goes is tall, so it was an obvious place to create some visual pop. Again, the wallpaper takes the spotlight.  Called “Nude Roses,” also by RebelWalls, I love this design. Floral wallpaper was ‘big’ in popularity back in the 1920s when this house was built, but the patterns at that time were smaller, repeated more often, and were often really bold in color. This interpretation is so fun to me! Gone are the small roses in favor of oversized blooms, and the bold colors are more subdued pink and gray hues, with touches of dark green and creamy whites.

While roses can inherently feel feminine, the plaid bedding (30 dollars for a queen set from Target) are a surprising complement that keeps everything from feeling a little stereotypical. The side tables are mismatched – partly because we didn’t want to go too “matchy=matchy” – but also to save some money – the one on the left side (hard to catch here) was from West Elm. Normally $199, we got it for half off as the floor model. The one on the right we found in the trash. It was perfectly fine, clearly someone had just gotten tired of it! Nothing some disinfectant can’t fix. That gave us some extra money to spend – To reduce the softeness we went with industrial lamps and edison bulbs. The lamps  are called “Ginyard,” from Wayfair. The headboard was on sale at Arhaus. The dark gray takes balances out the pink hues well. The pillows are from Target and Homegoods.

For the 360 degree view of this room, watch the Instagram reel below!  You’ll see the dresser, on sale for $599 from Arhaus, a lamp from Homegoods, and mobiles from Amazon which we fashioned into a ‘piece of art’ that keeps you from hitting your head on the angled wall opposite the bed. Watch the video to check it out!

 

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A post shared by Brian Balthazar (@brianbalthazar)

THE GAME ROOM

BASEMENT AFTER
BASEMENT AFTER
BASEMENT AFTER
BASEMENT BEFORE
BASEMENT BEFORE
BASEMENT / GAME ROOM

Brian says: The idea for the basement game room was to create a space that feels like a lounge you might find if you went out with friends. When you go into this basement it definitely feels like you’ve gone someplace unique! Believe it or not, I found out the Today Show had invited me to to record my house tour just a few days in advance, and so we turned around this spot in just THREE days! There was literally no pool table at the time, (although it had already been scheduled to come on Friday, the wallpaper came on Saturday, (as well as the floor tiles!) and by Sunday we were covered in paint and glue and drinking wine to celebrate it’s completion! I recorded the final video that Monday.

Some people might not think to take a bright basement and make it dark, but that was our first instinct. Clubs are dark and moody, and we wanted this to feel like that. We painted the walls Wrought Iron by Benjamin Moore, which is a very dark gray that seems to take on different hues based on where you paint it and the light that shines on it. We painted the ceiling black. This was Thursday night! Then Friday the pool table came. The floor tiles (“Tweed Indeed” in black by Flor) hadn’t arrived until the next day, so when they did arrive I meticulously trimmed four tiles to fit around the pool table legs so it looks like they were there the whole time. I had ordered the pool table online weeks before from PoolTables.com and by sheer coincidence it was scheduled to arrive in time for me to shoot the redesign. This was the second time I have ordered a pool table from them (which was initially scary because you’re not even seeing it beforehand!) but it always arrives in perfect condition to your specific selections. I love that the felt jet black and keeps things dark and moody. In the time that has passed since this photo was taken, I’ve added more of the carpet tiles to make the carpeted floor area darker and bigger.

But once again, the wall mural steals the show in a marvelous way! This mural is called “A Priori” from Rebelwalls, and is inspired by The Allegory of Divine Providence and Barberini Power, a famous fresco by Italian artist Pietro da Cortona. Fitting, because this house is Italian in style on the outside. You can’t see it from this photo but the wallpaper runs up part of the ceiling as well. It truly gives the room a wow factor when you enter it. The lamps are from Homegoods, (we’ve since added some industrial floor lamps for extra mood lighting) and the piano was something we brought with us. The bar tables are from Amazon ($72 each) and the stools we brought with us – they were discards from someone who didn’t like their original bright colors and thought they were dated! We covered them ourselves with gray plaid fabric and they’re better than they were new!

 

So there you have it! Hope you enjoyed the rooms and find something you like!

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The Pentagon Has Released Official UFO Videos Because 2020 Is The Absolute Worst

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Aren’t swarms of locusts supposed to be the next installment of this plague?!

Can we finally declare 2020 as the worst year ever? In January there were fears of a third World War. In February the coronavirus began its rapid spread. In March the world essentially shut down due to social distancing and quarantining. And now in April…with only two days left in the month…we have official government footage of unidentified flying objects. I’m sorry but Milton Bradley’s game of “Life” never prepared me for any of this!

The Pentagon has confirmed the authenticity of three videos that have been circulating the web but didn’t really answer what is visible in them. In the videos, now declassified by the Department of Defense, navy pilots capture “unidentified aerial phenomena” aka unidentified flying objects aka UFOs! Pentagon officials were sure to state that the videos do not show “any sensitive capabilities or systems,” meaning we probably won’t be seeing any little green men any time soon.

The first video dates back to November 2004 and the other two from January 2015. Of the Pentagon’s confirmation of authenticity, Pentagon spokesperson Sue Gough said the videos were released “in order to clear up any misconceptions by the public on whether or not the footage that has been circulating was real, or whether or not there is more to the videos.”

So great. We now know that these strange videos are real but what exactly are we looking at? Well, the Department of Defense says it has no concrete answer as to what might be floating around the skies and has classified the phenomena as “unidentified.” And…just like that I suddenly feel less defended.

Social media is having a field day with this revelation of course. The #AliensAreReal has been trending high on Twitter since the news broke. One user referenced Independence Day and said the aliens are “getting ready for July 4th.” Of the bad timing, another wrote “Et tu aliens?” And finally one user couldn’t help avoid sarcasm and wrote”Where’s the space force when you need it?”

Well 2020, you have worked your awful black magic once again. What’s next, cat videos get banned from the internet?! You’ve taken everything else from us!

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Priest Accidentally Forgets To Turn Off Filters Before Live Streaming Mass

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The internet is having a field day with the innocent mistake of biblical proportions.

With new social distancing guidelines, many churches have closed to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. And while that doesn’t justify all the wine you’ve been chugging during your self quarantine, it does have many people practicing their faith from their homes. One Italian priest was just trying to recite a little prayer for his followers when he accidentally left a filter feature on during the broadcast! In the clip the priest is digitally adorned with a space helmet, workout gear, a fedora and sunglasses and more.

Social media went nuts for the video, which has now gone viral. One comment reads “He just doubled his holy power.” Another reads “Father, Son and Holy Influencer.” One commenter couldn’t resist a good pun and said the video is having a “Mass effect.”

Enjoy your daily blessing and take a look at the funny video below!

 

Priest in Italy live streams mass, activates filters by mistake from r/funny

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