Archive for the 'Celebrity' Category


Fears for Spears

By total coincidence I watched Factory Girl last night directly before Britney Spears’ opening act at the MTV Video Music Awards. I think the pairing offers some notable parallels. Edie Sedgwick was broken down and shattered by publicity and celebrity. Then she died unceremoniously of a drug overdose. Britney has been similarly chewed up by the machine, and she has had her share of public breakdowns. Unlike Edie Sedgwick, however, Britney Spears is fighting back. Unlike Edie Sedgwick, Britney Spears lives. And she probably will for a long time.

I was totally on Britney’s side when she went bat shit on those photographers at the gas station. Not insignificantly, her strategic use of an umbrella brought her closer in my mind to a childhood idol of mine. But more to the point, I think I’d lose it too, if I were constantly denied the opportunity to take control of my life by the people who want to record every frame of it.

The girl is working some stuff out. So she turned in a lackluster performance last night. Why should I sing when I can lip sync? Why should I dance when all these other dancers can do all the work? I can just phone in this thing.

And y’all are gonna watch anyway.

And we did.

OK, so last night’s performance in Las Vegas wasn’t exactly a show stopper. There are a lot of second-rate showgirls in that town who could have given her a run for her money. The sea of blank faces among the who’s who in attendance was more entertaining than Britney. But she was out there. And she wore that sequined bikini. You know that had to have been her choice — no one would have recommended it to her. Maybe she’s taking some control after all.

I will say this: She looked healthy. Some said fat, but I disagree. I think she looks better as a woman than as an anorexic stick figure.

Whatever she does next will be better. It could hardly be worse. But no one likes to be fooled. I hope we’re still there to watch her next time.


You Must Not Know ‘Bout Bea

CNN gleefully covered an onstage spill from Beyoncé recently. It reminds me of the time I saw Bea Arthur fall off a stage in Minneapolis.

She was barefoot and resplendent in a flowing white kaftan. Or something. During a story about a fistfight with Elaine Stritch or something, she moved slowly backward into a poorly lit part of the stage. And then, in an instant: a wisp of white taffeta, like smoke, and she had vanished.

A gay guy in the front row gasped. A small child began to cry somewhere. And then, from the darkness, Ms. Arthur’s voice rang out like a call from God:

“Ladies and gentlemen. I am all right.”

Exuberant applause erupted from the assembled masses, and she took to the stage once again, without so much as a limp. It was inspirational.


Paris Hilton: Not Even Interesting Enough to Make Me Sick

Paris Hilton is sent back to jail screaming, weeping and wailing, and calling for mommy.

I detest her and her ridiculous attitude of special privilege. She’s so boring. Yawn. Seriously. To quote from one of the greats, Cher: “You’re not even interesting enough to make me sick.

The only notable aspect about the media frenzy over this, I think, is that unlike the O.J. case, where there was a real, dramatic murder investigation and trial that turned into a media farce — who can ever forget the aerial shots of that white bronco? or of course the dancing Itos? — this is petty and stupid on its face from the very beginning, and all the coverage is centering on her idiotic and childish behavior. Bravo, I guess. But again: Who cares?

She’s not even acting like a rich, spoiled 26-year-old. She’s acting simply like any tedious 6-year-old. She’s a total psychological retard. If this is what immense wealth and a life lived without consequences brings to you, then I’m glad I’m solidly middle class with little hope of ever raising my tax bracket.


Why Kathy Bates Will Save the World

My better half is watching Misery on Lifetime-Television-For-Women right now, and I just overheard:

He didn’t get out of the COCKADOODIE CAR!

God, I love Kathy Bates. As if blithely bearing her tits in all their overweight, middle-aged glory in About Schmidt wasn’t enough to earn my respect, she also plays one of the best secondary characters on TV in Six Feet Under (as well as directing a few of the episodes).

And, of course, who could forget good old psychopathic Annie Wilkes from Misery?

You! You dirty bird! How could you?

Misery is alive. Misery is alive! Oh, this whole house is going to be full of romance. Oooh, I am going to put on my Liberace records!

At the feedstore do I say, “Oh, now Wally, give me a bag of that F-in’ pig feed, and a pound of that bitchly cow corn”? At the bank do I say, “Oh, Mrs. Malenger, here is one big bastard of a check, now give me some of your Christ-ing money!”


Madonna Paradox

I won’t call it hypocrisy. I’ll be generous and call it a paradox.

It almost qualifies as irony. But we English majors know better.

What I’m talking about is Madonna’s insistence that she not only monitors the TV intake of her kids (good idea in my opinion), but she also neither watches TV nor reads newspapers nor magazines herself. Ever.

She, our like great nation’s source of illumination, George W. Bush, is intentionally media deprived. She says sometimes she listens to the BBC with husband Guy. She hears about the news of the world from conversations with friends.

Madonna, the queen of mass media, star of magazine cover and MTV, chooses to disregard the news. Sure, she ignores press about herself. This is just and good and fair. Besides, how tedious, boring and infuriating, right? But she also ignores news about the world? She does TRL. She does The View. She does Good Housekeeping. She does Ladies’ friggin Home Journal. She depends on the media. She is the media.

Yet, she holds herself above the very media her career depends on.

Don’t get me wrong, I loves me some Madge. But does this seem weird to anyone else?


Oscar: The Grouch

I thought for sure Felicity Huffman and Heath Ledger were going to win last night. My only Oscar predictions that came true were that Jake Gyllenhaal would not win Best Supporting Actor and that Brokeback Mountain would win either Best Picture or Best Director but not both.

It was supposed to be a great year for the Gay Film, right? No one can deny that the nominations of Huffman, Ledger, Gyllenhaal, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Ang Lee and Brokeback Mountain are important. It’s excellent company. But as selfish filmgoers, we want wins, of course.

I didn’t see Walk the Line, so I don’t know anything about Reese Witherspoon’s performance. She gave a great acceptance speech. And I loved her in Legally Blonde. So, OK… Give her the Oscar. (That’s a joke, btw.) Sorry, Felicity. Go home and polish your Emmy. But take heart: A lot of Desperate Housewives watchers — from cities without art-house theaters — probably would never have known you played a transsexual if not for the Oscar broadcast.

I didn’t see Capote, but Hoffman is amazing in everything he does, so it’s entirely possible that he deserved the Best Actor win as much as Ledger. I’m similarly disappointed, but it’s still a gay role — albeit I think a more “standard,” less provocative, less interesting and safer gay role. So… chalk one up, I guess, eh?

And even though I didn’t expect Brokeback to get Best Picture after Ang Lee won Best Director, I still can’t believe that Crash won! OK, the “It’s Hard out Here for a Pimp” win was kinda cool — even though a second Oscar loss for Dolly Parton tears at the fabric of my gay soul. But Best Picture? Considering what it was up against? I can’t fathom how they pulled that one off. Crash was a good movie. I like the questions it raised. But it was obvious, too full of coincidence, and a little overbearing.

It’s almost like the Academy wanted to throw a bone to all the nominated films — no film goes home empty-handed! And as a result, the wins don’t seem quite so golden.

Maybe it’s not such a surprise that the gay-themed work didn’t sweep. There are other good movies in the world. But what the hell is this quotation in an Associated Press article from an Exodus International goon supposed to mean?

“I think America sent a message to those in the industry that this isn’t something that they’re interested in, and hopefully this was something that weighed heavily on them as they voted for these pictures,” said Alan Chambers, president of Orlando, Fla.-based Exodus International, a Christian organization that promotes “freedom from homosexuality.”

First of all, I object to his inclusion in the article as a balance to GLAAD. They are not equal and opposite. Maybe if there were a group that was out there to turn straights into gays, this Chambers would have something to say worth listening to. But to set someone who wants to convert gay people into straight people against someone who merely wants to make sure gays are treated fairly in the media is idiocy.

Besides that, though, “America sent a message”? What a dumbass. America doesn’t vote for the Oscars. America went to the movies in hordes and droves and ate these movies up. And what kind of message does he suppose “America” sent with the gay nominations in the first place? Oh yeah … Clearly a lack of interest.

I read another article that cited the show’s “gay cowboy” montage as being in poor taste, which also bothered me.

If the insinuation of being gay were an insult, i.e., a bad thing, of course it would be bad taste. The trouble is, it’s not. The comment stands in sharp contrast to the opening sequence where John Stewart wakes up in bed with a grinning George Clooney, which was hilarious. It’s OK to insinuate a same-sex attraction in John Stewart but not in John Wayne? When it’s clearly a joke? What is this double standard? Again, the cowboy — honestly, a minuscule piece of American identity — is held up as some gold standard of masculinity. The writer shows that he clearly didn’t get the joke — or the significance of Brokeback Mountain.

Unless these “real men” can roll with the joke, until they can realize that their masculinity, their lifestyle and their image (certainly their marriage) are not being threatened, I will not believe that they are real men at all.

Brokeback or “the gays” didn’t need to sweep last night. But it would have been nice. It would have been fun. Truly, I don’t like it when one movie wins everything. It seems myopic, lazy, unimaginative. And the Oscars don’t need to score points for the Gay Rights movement. And even if they did, I’m not sure it would really be speaking to the core of middle-American thought. Far more important, I think, is the work that was done to bring these roles and these films closer to the mainstream. Far more important is the nomination, the attention and the discussion.

And, of course, the image of John Stewart waking up in bed next to George Clooney.


You Go Girl

I found this on the Editor and Publisher Web site:
Oprah “Freys” President Bush: Read It Here First

It’s an interesting idea: What if Oprah grilled Bush like she did James Frey, the published liar. (By the way, if you publish a memoir and change — even embellish — a few things, I have no problem considering it non-fiction if you follow the example of such confessors as Augusten Burroughs, author of Dry and Running with Scissors, and at least tell us so at the beginning. Frey did not do this, ergo, “liar.”)

I always find these “what if” columns to be a bit silly and unhelpful in the end. Mind you, I’d rather Oprah grill Bush on his criminally irresponsible tax-cut schemes or his unrealistic expectations of the future of the American health care system. But that’s just me.

Nevermind what you think of her. I love the way Oprah wins no matter what she does. At first, she declines to slam Frey, instead taking that bizarre middle ground: The book is good and important and meaningful whether it’s non-fiction or not. And people coo and sigh and say, “She has such personal integrity.” (However, it must be noted, some of her biggest critics were fans of her show.)

Then she changes her mind and rips Frey a new one on her couch, on TV, in front of millions of housewives and unemployed gay waiters, and people coo and sigh and say, “She has such personal integrity.”

Her couch is truly a hot seat. What a crazy world that she is among the most powerful and feared in media and the American press corps is continually disrespected and emasculated by our government. Let’s send Oprah after Scott McClellan. I’d love to have seen her go after Ari Fleischer, too.

the untallied hours