Inquirer television critic Jonathan Storm is reporting from the television critics' press tour in Beverly Hills, Calif. These items are taken from his blog, "Eye of the Storm," at www.philly.com/eyeof-thestorm.
The subway is not just for getting to the Phillies games. For Shawn Stockman and his singing group, Boyz II Men, it was a concert hall.
"You know, when me and my guys got together, we used to sing in the streets of Philadelphia," Stockman told TV critics Monday. "And a lot of times we would go downstairs in the subway, and we would sing there, not because of anything else, but the acoustics were incredible. So we would all sing, and the harmonies would go for miles.
"And people would try to give us money, and we were like, we don't want it. You know what I mean? Like it wasn't about money. . . . And it's funny how - and it's weird, because you have to be in a group to understand, to some degree, that music doesn't require anything else but the feeling. You don't want anything else.
"Like when me and the guys first started singing, we sounded so good, like we didn't even like each other but, seriously, we were singers before we were friends. But we sounded, to us, so good together that it was addictive. Like we wanted to sing together all of the time."
Stockman, one of the judges on NBC's The Sing-Off, an a cappella singing competition show that's expanding on the network this fall, told me the group preferred the Snyder and Oregon stations for their acoustics.
Stockman is an a cappella fanatic. "It's a very pure and a very soulful art of music that, when you hear it, when you hear voices combine in harmony, it sounds good," he said. "I don't care who you are. The only way you can't react is if you're dead."
Surprise! Chris Matthews likes Michele Bachmann. "Show up," Chris Matthews advises young people looking to start their careers after college. "Do not e-mail. Do not send your resumé. Mobilize."
"I love to give commencement speeches," the voluble Matthews told me Monday at NBC's fancy party at Jose Andres' fabulous Bazaar in Beverly Hills' chic SLS Hotel.
Really? Matthews, who grew up in Philadelphia and still considers it home, would talk the paint off a fence post. He has spoken at Chestnut Hill College, and was just at Temple in May. Next spring, he'll be getting an honorary degree at Washington's Howard University. Not clear yet, he said, if he'll be speaking also.
Matthews, who has been doing live TV almost daily for more than 15 years, loves politics, of course, though you may be surprised that he considers himself a moderate.
"I think my politics are fairly near the middle," he said. He has a soft spot for Michele Bachmann, for instance. "She's not boring. . . . If Obama ran against her, it would be a hoot."
But he has nothing but contempt for tea party politics.
"These people are like the new Boss Tweed, doing nothing but trying to appeal to the loudest guy at the next tea party meeting," he said. "They have no concept of political compromise. They're taking paychecks and benefits and everything else and not doing the job."