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  • When Brandon Flowers, lead singer of The Killers, said he was about to release his first solo album, I wondered how much better this kid would get.

    The group’s first three albums are nothing short of terrific. The very first show I saw them live, Jones Beach on Long Island, of all places, was just amazing and remains one of the best-ever live shows I’ve seen.

    They had just released their 2004 debut album Hot Fuss, so they didn’t have a ton of material. The audience reaction, as well as theirs, was so amazing that they even played some songs twice!

    I think the group is simply terrific; actually, one of the last of the originals on my scorecard. Flower’s album Famingo sounds a lot like his group, but as I listened to it more and more, I became captivated.

    It’s much more focused and varied; think subtle!

    The three producers he utilized, Daniel Lanois, Stuart Price, and Brendan O’Brien, have done some of their best work ever with him.

    In fact, I’m tempted to say that this work is one of the year’s best.

    “Hard Enough,” sung with Jenny Lewis flows in such an unexpected, yet enjoyable manner. Flower’s voice is truly thing of beauty and the instrumentation is just spot-on perfect.

    “Jilted Lovers & Broken Hearts” sounds the most like The Killers (off their Sam’s Town album) and is just superb.

    My favorite track is “Crossfire,” produced by O’Brien, and “Magdalena” shows the artist in pensive and joyous mode. “Playing With Fire” equally compelling. Really, one of the top five albums this year!

    Passings: Tony Curtis, a Hollywood Icon Exits

    Tony Curtis circa 1957

    Tony Curtis’ passing was a tremendous loss. I liked him best in the 1970s BBC-TV series “The Persuaders” with Roger Moore. Curtis, as American millionaire Danny Wilde was just a wildly rich character.

    The character mirrored much of his own life, from Brooklyn starting with nothing and, then, having it all.

    With Lord Brett Sinclair (Moore), the two stumbled into the most amazing situations (murder and mayhem!), while competing in a way with each other amid jabs and jokes. But they got the job done.

    His turn in the 1968 film “The Boston Strangler” was truly a stellar performance. You were able to see firsthand the psychosis in the character, the regret and the joy.

    Not getting an Oscar-nom for the performance truly shattered him, and led him to many years of substance abuse.

    TV’s legendary Joe Franklin was a childhood friend to Curtis in the Bronx, where Curtis was then known by his real name, Bernie Schwartz. They stayed friends throughout Curtis’ life.

    Franklin said the folllowing of his friend:

    “Tony Curtis was my first and best childhood-boyhood friend. I remember we would tell our mothers that we were going out to play basketball after school, but we actually went to the movies six days a week.

    “Tony aspired to become an actor and to be a second Cary Grant, and later on, he made a movie with Cary Grant in a film called “Operation Petticoat.”

    He came to my restaurant opening a few years ago, without having to be invited. He was a true friend, a great actor, and I’ll miss him dearly.”

    New York publicist David Salidor recalls: “He was just sensational in ‘The Sweet Smell Of Success,’ where he played the character Sidney Flaco, opposite Burt Lancaster’s JJ Hunsecker. He left an indelible mark and continues to stand as all the things a good PR man should NOT do.”

    Curtis, through six marriages, lived life to the fullest, As The Eagles’ Don Henley said once in a song, he always took it to the wall. He actually lived almost six lifetimes. Rest easy Tony … you deserve it.

    Behind the Scenes in the War Against DDT

    Chris Gilman of Yerba Buena Perry, Debbie Gibson, Dr. Taylor Rutledge.

    When I first heard about this startling documentary on the 1972-EPA ban on DDT, called “3 Billion And Counting,” I almost did a double take.

    DDT was what I had sprayed on myself when I was a kid as a preventative measure against insects, including mosquitoes.

    Written, produced and directed, over the course of five years, by Dr. Taylor Rutledge, the 102-minute movie is a revelation.

    Rutledge says few realize that a full 80 percent of all infectious diseases are transmitted by insects. The film debunks old 20th century beliefs about DDT being poisonous to humans, animals, the environment or cancer causing agents in humans.

    The film reveals that the actual EPA DDT band hearings never before seen by the public which effectively proved the efficacy and harmlessness of DDT.

    Rutledge, was quoted in a recent interview, saying: “Even the bedbugs are mounting” … referencing a possible side effect of the ban. Chillingly, the DDT ban is cited as perhaps the greatest technological genocide in world history.

    Turns out that the good doctor’s better half is pop-star Debbie Gibson, in town with the doctor last week for a reception at Chris Gilman’s splendid downtown eatery Yerba Buena Perry.

    There were scads of familiar faces at the event, including Aubrey Reuben from Playbill, comedian/actress Rachael Robbins, Melissa Daniels from Momentum Marketing, who sponsored the event with the restaurant, uber-publicist David Salidor, David Batista from “Entertainment Tonight,” and, Mark Scheerer from the Public News Service.

    If you get the chance, check out the movie here: 3 Billion and Counting .

    Names in the News

    Chris Gilman, Eva Mueller, Amy W, Rachel Robbins, Julian Sundby, Bob Merrick, Judd Bernard, Lon Van Eaton, Steve Walter, Claire O’Connor, Ernie Lake, Chloe Fay, Anthony Pomes, Scott Holdem, Dana Tana’s, Ths Standard, Diane Gibson, Micky Dolenz, Chip!