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Archive for October, 2009

For SLaMLibby Cudmore is a regular contributor to Pop Matters. Hardboiled and a Twist of Noir. Additionally, her work has appeared in Shaking Like a Mountain, Inertia, Battered Suitcase, the Southern Women’s Review, Eastern Standard Crime, Pulp Pusher, Thrillers, Killers ‘n’ ChillersPowderBurnFlash, the Flash Fiction Offensive, Big Pulp and the upcoming anthology Quantum Genre on the Planet of the Arts, the latter two with Matthew Quinn Martin.  Her favorite Smiths album is The Queen is Dead.

~~~~~THIS CHARMING MAN, STILL ILL~~~~~
I am very worried about Morrissey.

morrissey-20080229084749262-000Shortly after performing “This Charming Man,” the former Smiths frontman and most influential figure in music (according to the 2002 NME poll—suck on that, John Lennon!) collapsed onstage at a concert in Swinton and was rushed to the hospital. He was released the next day and, according to Boz Boorer’s facebook update, he is resting and greatly appreciates our concern.
This is uncommon for Morrissey. He has always shown a bit of gleeful contempt for his hoards of rabid fans and we love him for it. Despite his long-time vow of celibacy and hints of homosexual tendencies, women throw themselves at him in concert. I saw him on the You Are the Quarry tour and the security guards had their hands full, chucking waifish indie girls off stage like shot puts. If someone in the front row threw flowers, Morrissey stomped them beneath his well-heeled foot. He has proclaimed himself as unlovable and we couldn’t love him more. But it’s good to know that we are finally breaking through to his shielded heart.
I, like all Morrissey fans, firmly believe that I am the only one who understands him, that I am who he wrote “William, it was ReallyMorrisseyOnGrass-785551Nothing,” “These Things Take Time” “Sister, I’m a Poet” and “This Charming Man” for. He is part of my Holy Trifecta of musicians, alongside Warren Zevon and Tom Waits. I lost Zevon in college, and Tom Waits will probably live forever. But when a friend alerted me to Morrissey’s sudden lapse into mortality (while pointing out that God, or perhaps the Devil, continues to spare the Jonas Brothers) I panicked and began immediately playing every Morrissey song on my shelf, as though my prayers and devotion might be heard in his hospital bed.
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eric-braedenLet’s talk TV. Was anyone else sitting virtual vigil at the deathbed of Victor Newman, hero/villian of CBS’s top-rated THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS? Stellar writer and fellow Soap addict Suzanne Strempek Shea mourns A GUIDING LIGHT EXTINGUISHED in her excellent elegiac essay.

Sources now say Victor (aka Eric Braedon) really won’t walk out on his worldwide fans due to a pay cut. But with even top-rated Y&R forced to cut costs, with ratings in decline, Soaps face death by Reality TV. Maybe our endless supply of fresh ‘celebrities in disgrace’ is to blame. Are we all so addicted to real-life scandals we no longer thrill to made-up ones?

I for one can’t stomach Reality TV or revived game shows: too damn depressing. I can’t watch more than a few minutes without wondering queasily: who ARE these people? What Balloon-Boy-size case of Attention Desiring Disorder drove them to such extremes? Why is everyone following low-class real-life jerks like Jon Gosselin rather than classy larger-than-life jerks like Victor Newman? But maybe there’s something I’m missing in Reality-TV-land. Clue me in.

Which Reality shows do you watch?  Dancing With Stars? Real Housewives (I prefer the Desperate ones)? The new (do we really need a new) Let’s Make a Deal? What’s the fascination– and, Victor or no Victor, can Soaps survive?

PS: thanks to Caitlin for this cool link on Roger Thorpe on “Guiding Light” PPS: And thanks to Mark for further insight into fame-seeking/Attention Desiring Disorder.
photo: Eric Braedon, the one and only Victor Newman: NNDB.com

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APTOPIX Boy In BalloonForget Attention Deficit Disorder (what were we just talking about?)  The ‘new ADD,’ my husband says, is Attention-Desiring Disorder.  The Dad of the now infamous ‘Balloon Boy’ sought media attention by appearing on Wife Swap & riding a bike in a tornado.  New charges may prove more about this weather-chasing fame-chasing Dad.

New Media– blogs and all– has brought self-created celebrity to new heights, or depths. In lower-tech. times, when I was in Oberlin College, a freshman posted his name all over campus on flyers.  This ‘Daniel’ was the inspiration for the ADD-crazed hero of CELEBRITIES IN DISGRACE, Bravo Sierra’s forthcoming film (& the name of our very own self-promoting Blog!)

The web is loaded with self-created celeb.s like Arthur Kade.  ‘Jon‘ cheated on Kate; what’s-his-name cheated on Jeopardy.  Both lose their shows but cling to our attention.  Do you ‘enable’ any ADD ‘celeb.’s?  Which self-made saga do you follow?  Pop-Culture guru David Shields (REMOTE) nails the ADD mentality.  Is there a cure or flame-out in sight for this Disease of Our Times?
PS: Thanks to SUZANNE for this heads-up on Steve Phillips-gate
PPS: And now Balloon Boy’s Mom allegedly admits a HOAX
photo: syracuse.com

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D4655C4E-C09F-38A7-B7EF7AF1FA67F662zooey-deschanel2I saw (500) Days of Summer on the tip that Zooey Deschanel (left) is our newest ‘It Girl.’  She’s a charmer– but if Zooey rises to one-name Farrah/Madonna/Britney heights of IT-dom, she’d better brace for bashing.  It Girls have shorter shelf lives in this harsh Scandal-happy media culture.  (‘Culture’ as in lo-fat yogurt: most It Girls last about as long).

True, Britney Spears’ behavior fueled the Britney-Bashing that accompanied her breakdowns and head-shavings (hauntingly, she claimed she was shaving her head so ‘no one will ever touch me again’).  But can we totally blame a young woman who’s been, as she sings in Piece of Me, ‘Miss American Dream since I was seventeen”?  Britney’s on the Rebound– or is she back to Backlash?  I can’t keep up!

I only hope the new It Girls will wise up.  Zooey D. seems down-to-earth and unafraid to show her smarts.  So is the talented dynamic young actress (above, right) just cast to play the lead in Bravo Sierra’s short film CELEBRITIES IN DISGRACE.  Take a look at PATRICE BUNCH (plus her clips / her Stanley Cuba ).  Who is your own nominee for future It Girl?  I’m betting on Zooey and Patrice and seeing in them a stronger savvier generation of, well, ‘It Women’.

PS: The eternal It Woman, Marge Simpson, joins the ranks of the racy & ‘disgraced’ by posing nude in Playboy.  Thanks, Mark, for this news flash!

photos: Zooey D: woodchipped.wordpress.com; Patrice B.: actorsaccess.com

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Teen Choice Awards ArrivalsLevi Johnston and his revenue-raising nut ad/Playgirl pose; David Letterman and his ratings-boosting Mea Culpa.  The Fame/Disgrace line grows ever thinner.  Jon & Kate have no discernible talents yet their Divorce From Hell hogs headlines.  Is there any ‘disgrace,’ these days, that doesn’t pay?

JulianHeadshot 1The hero of my CELEBRITIES IN DISGRACE loses his virginity ‘on camera,’ and sex-texts his way into fame/disgrace in Bravo Sierra’s forthcoming film.  This Master of Disgrace will be played by super-intense JULIAN BRAND (see his photo here & his clips on Vimeo.)

I believe Julian will make ‘Daniel’ worth watching– but what about real-life celeb.s who are, as my Daniel puts it, ‘born of their own disgrace’?  Which scandal-stars do you bother to brake for?  Which do you wish would Get a Life Sentence, already?  When will the first Book Deal be signed for Letterman’s lovers?  Will Dave L. eventually pay a ‘price’?  When will Levi Johston–set to pose for Playgirl— wear out his welcome?  (Not before my Bristol Palin roman a clef is finished and printed, I hope!)  WDYT?

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images-1Blogs are ablaze with Roman Candles of condemnation aimed at Roman Polanski and his admitted criminal acts against a 13 year old girl. As a Mom, I’m with the flame-throwers and Hell-wishers on this one.  As a movie-goer, I adore the dark brilliance of ROSEMARY’S BABY, CHINATOWN, THE PIANIST.  Does watching them now make you feel in ‘league with the devil’?  In the particular case of Polanski, his lifetime walk on the dark side– losing a mother to Auschwitz and a wife and baby to Charles Manson and seemingly his own soul along the way– surely infuses his pitch-black masterpieces. (See the Devil-rape ‘dream sequence’ in ROSEMARY’S BABY, my vote for Scariest Movie Ever).

Woody Allen (surprise, surprise) supports Polanski. I stopped watching his flicks for years after his stepdaughter-gate. Woody just wasn’t funny to me anymore. Swearing off Polanski’s cinematic world would be harder. And why do it? Terrific artists through the ages have been terrible humans. Take Phil Spector. Our favorite ‘holiday album’ (ie, the only one we can stand) is the creepily titled A CHRISTMAS GIFT FOR YOU FROM PHIL SPECTOR. (‘Gee thanks Phil,’ my husband joked, ‘Does this mean I don’t have to suck the gun?’) Will we still bop around our living room to Spector’s fabulously dance-able and un-saccharin tunes now that Phil is a convicted killer? Well yes, we will. Don’t judge us. But do dare to share your thoughts/feelings/rants on Polanski & fellow Celeb./Criminals…

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