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Archive for January, 2010

Michelle Soucy has an MFA in the Stonecoast MFA program. Her fiction has appeared in the literary journals The Florida Review and The Bryant Literary Review, and elsewhere.

Thanks, Michelle, and thanks Ingrid for a new StarLit. piece on Gaimanda (Amanda Palmer + Neil Gaiman…)

Michelle sang Daydream Believer with DAVY JONES

Love is the Ultimate Trip by Michelle Soucy

The 1980s were dark times for hair. And for fashion. And for music. I’m not sure what happened to initiate the cultural collapse in judgment, maybe it was a kind of styling product-fueled rebellion against our hippie-parents’ love of all things “natural.” But the whole world looked and sounded like it had been aerosol-hairsprayed into a stiff and angry gloss. Subtlety was dead, or at least in an induced coma. We wore panic-button red sunglasses that zigzagged off the sides of our heads like lightning bolts. And, speaking of lightning bolts, those were also shaved into the buzz-cut hair of the boys in my school.

The clothing we chose to wear was as big as we could possibly get it and still be able to walk, but bunched up and held onto our bodies with fluorescent pink and green belts — many, many belts. Our fingernails, too, were painted in bright neon, and sometimes enhanced with polka dots or, again, lightning bolts, giving the appearance of poisonous insects living on the ends of our fingertips.

And our hair, dear God, our hair. Perms like the summit of K2. Mohawks, spray-painted blue and purple. Rat-tails. Ducktails. Bangs that we burnt into layers with our curling irons and bent upside-down to hairspray into what looked like a wild turkey’s fanned tail feathers. When I look through old photo albums at my parents’ house now, I feverishly flip past the photos of the 80s, pretending that couldn’t really be me… no, no, haha, no. But when no one else is looking I flip back and sneak a peek, because my early-teen face really was quite sweet and doll-like. But you could barely notice it under that maniacally hairsprayed mane. So, yeah, the 80s were a dark time, so dark that I was desperately compelled to dig for some light. And so I dug, and I unearthed for myself love… in the form of The Monkees.

It was The Monkees who saved me from the 80s. (more…)

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“I’m sorry I couldn’t stop writing about you,” I said to Tonya Harding when I met her at the premiere of Michael Teoli‘s and my rock opera based on her and Nancy Kerrigan’s skating scandal.

Tonya– who cheered on the show then partied with the cast, playing video poker in the bar– told me matter-of-factly: “You got some things wrong but that’s OK.”

Though I’ve never met Nancy Kerrigan, I felt as if I knew her when I heard the terrible news this week of the death of her father and arrest of her brother. Another bizarre and violent twist in a life that has had more than its share. Her family asks for privacy regarding this death.  I have nothing to add beyond the sad facts already known. But aside from expressing sympathy, I did want to say a few words about ‘my’ Nancy.

As I can testify to firsthand– having written librettos for both a chamber opera and rock opera about Nancy’s skating scandal, both shows headed for new productions this year– the fascination with Nancy Kerrigan’s story lives on. While I focus more on Tonya in the plays, it was Nancy’s plight that first captured me in 1994.

Nancy came from Stoneham, a town near ours in Massachusetts, and I believe I once glimpsed Nancy on the Minuteman Bike Trail in Arlington, MA: an auburn-haired vision on rollarblades. I remember kneeling by the radio speakers in our home listening breathlessly from Lillehammer as Nancy Kerrigan, under unimaginable pressure, skated her nearly flawless nearly gold-medal performance.

Nancy’s grace and grit captured everyone’s attention and infuriated some. Many folks have told me over the last few years how they couldn’t sympathize with the reserved and disciplined Nancy. Many believed mistakenly that Nancy came from money, when really her blue-collar family double-mortgaged their home to pay for Nancy’s skate lessons.

There seems to be an outpouring of sympathy this week. Maybe that same strength Nancy found during her knee-attack ordeal will carry her through this tragedy. And no matter what, some of us will not be able to stop watching.
(photos: people.com, commons.wikimedia.or, womens’history.org)

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Sharon Stone recently commented that Meryl Streep looks like “an unmade bed.'”

That’s some unmade bed. Not only did Streep look ravishing and natural at this month’s Golden Globes, she is acting circles around her over-Botoxed frozen-faced peers in her golden years. ‘Gold’ as in lotsa shiny statues: Streep garnered double-whammy Globe nominations and is a favorite for the ultimate Golden Boy, Oscar.  And how about a true Golden Girl, 88 year old Betty White, who stole the show at the SAG awards?

Helen Mirran hits the beach

Note to Stone and Heidi Montag: film acting can be enhanced by movable facial muscles.

I asked blog fave Caitlin McCarthy— who alerted me to Stone’s comment– which other actresses besides la Streep seem to be aging gracefully. Caitlin’s list:

Helen Mirren, Julie Christie, Jacqueline Bisset, Sophia Loren, Susan Sarandon, Candice Bergen, and Patricia Clarkson all look natural and beautiful — not like plastic people.”

True, these ladies have had a ‘little help from their friends’ but they have eschewed the drastic knife-work of less gutsy stars.  Cheers to these ‘It Women’.

Who is your fave. from the big or small screen?  Oprah?  Diane Sawyers?  Blog fave Julianna Margulies?  Send in your own nominees as we celebrate celebrity women of a certain age, who aren’t afraid to ‘own it’…
PS: Great additional List suggestions on Comments: Anjelica Huston, Diane Ladd, Judi Dench, Jessica Lange…PPS: plus Cloris Leachman, Glenn Close & Angela Lansbury…& Lauren Bacall!

(photos: Meryl Streep:kidk.com; Helen M: audi-sport.net; Oprah: Googleimages; Julie C: cinematical.com; Betty W: mjtimes.sk.cn)

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Surprise, surprise: who's your Daddy?

When news first broke– confirming the affair that America’s ‘paper of record,’ the National Enquirer, had uncovered– my husband phoned me himself.  He knew I had flirted with voting for John Edwards and his populist fervor and winning smile, plus his highly admirable, highly likable wife: a fellow Elizabeth.

Though first a Hillary then an Obama supporter, I had contributed ‘Coulter cash’ to the Edwards campaign when he and his wife were under attack.  (Now I wonder if that small donation found its way to Rielle Hunter‘s love nest, where she hid out while carrying the now-confirmed Edwards’ offspring– the darling baby who always, as the intrepid Enquirer pointed out, looked like ‘John Edwards in a onesie.’)

‘Oh no,’ I cried into my cellphone when my husband said Edwards had admitted the affair, my voice so appalled that my young son in the back seat of the car– a child of these Recession-struck times– asked in horror: “Did Daddy lose his job?”

No, it was just Mommy losing her mind.  Which scandals drive you up a tree?  Blog fave Mary Kissane put it all so well I can only quote her Facebook flame, affire with the indignation so many of us feel toward the man who has just confessed to fathering the child he at first denied and who has been declared by Huffington Post pollsters to be the most unpopular figure ‘anywhere, anytime.’  Mary Kissane, responding to that poll, takes the mic:

“Gee, Mark McGwire gets a standing o for “coming clean,” but at least this poll shows people have some sense of proportionality left!

Cheating on his dying wife, the mother of his very young children, fathering a love child w/ a gold-digging party girl, and only NOW admitting he fathered the skank’s baby, after denying it for 2 yrs & even asking an aide to beard for him… Yeah, political Siberia is too good for him. Also loved a thread commenter’s noting that by timing it amidst grim Haiti news (not to mention our comic relief from NBC), he cannily avoids being ‘Tigered.’ And Seth Meyers priceless line: ‘Edwards’ admission is so the REVERSE of shocking that my coffee spit ME out!'”

Mary and Seth, you speak for millions.  Is anyone sorry for this man, at one time one of the most popular in politics?  I’m certainly sorry for his hard-working idealistic volunteers and supporters, for his wife and kiddies, all of them.  Why is this particular politician-with-pants-down scandal so irksome, so– as Mary put it in a separate Facebook post– ‘revolting’.  What is it about this one that makes some of us reverse-spit our coffee and frighten our own innocent young children?

photos: Edwards & daughter: crooksandiers.com; National Enquirer: mostlymedia.com; Edwards smirk: gather.com

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Former pin-up, future Senator

I voted for Martha Coakley in the MA Democratic Primary, but reluctantly.  Lukewarmly.  I almost went instead for her liveliest opponent Alan Khazei, since he exhibited more ‘spark.’ Then a robo-phonecall from my personal political rock-star Bill Clinton pushed me over the edge. Maybe I should have gone with my gut.

Our blog’s ‘beat’ is personality/media/star power.  How big a role did that play here?  Nixon observed that you can be anything in politics– except ‘boring.’  Will Health Care reform founder because of another worthy charisma-challenged Democratic candidate? Of course, real anger about the economy and health care among many voters fueled Brown’s fire.  But how big a factor were the two perceived ‘personalities’ here?

Like a young George W. Bush, Brown won over working class voters with his jaunty ‘populist’ style.  Like former beauty queen Sarah Palin (below, in red swimsuit), former Cosmo. pin-up Brown capitalized on his telegenic looks and campaigning flair.  Martha Coakley made matters worse on the image front by mixing up her Red Sox facts and calling Curt Schilling a Yankees fan three days before the election.

Many voters in the original Bush/Gore match-up voted for George W. because they wanted to have a beer with W.  But we never got that beer: only war and recession.

Liberal winners like JFK and Obama have capitalized, too, on good looks and showbizzy campaigning skills.  It’s the American way.  But have the same voters who returned Ted Kennedy to the senate for decades taken such a sudden sharp turn to the right that they support Brown’s pro-life right-winger views?  If one of Kennedy’s sons had run, would they have won? What tipped the balance to bring Brown his upset win? Was it his showman-style debates and his showbiz-ready daughters (above)?

And what of our superstar President, sworn in exactly a year ago?  Is Obama’s star power waning?  Or will this wake-up call recharge his own potent charisma?  WDYT?
PS: Thanks to Penny2 for Brian McGrory’s hilarious morning-after article, Seduced by Our New Senator

(photos- Brown nude: jezebel.com & Cosmo mag.; Palin: thetodayexperience.com; Brown & daughters: the-912-project.com)

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Best Speeches: Mo’nique & Robert Downey Jr.

Best Quote from a Presenter: “Animation is not just for children; it’s for adults taking drugs” (Sir Paul McCartney)

Best Quote from a Winner: “This is for anybody and everybody who ever got a wedgie in high school” (the guy accepting for GLEE)

‘Bust’ Quote: Jay Manuel on E! commenting on Mariah Carey’s very visible ‘globes.’

Best/Bust Invention: The ‘Glam Cam 360,’ a somewhat scary virtual Lazy Susan that rotates hapless stars in their gowns onscreen while a snarky voiceover critiques every angle and ‘shoulder detail’…

Best Kiss: Longtime couple Kevin Bacon & Kyra Sedgewick; so what if they lost millions to Bernie Madoff; they’ve got happiness & hair that money can’t buy…

Best Dress: Loved Julianna Margulies in scarlet & black (& love the fact  that she starred in SLIGSHOT, a film co-written by the director of the forthcoming CELEBRITIES IN DISGRACE film, Matthew Quinn Martin…)  Also loved Anna Paquin in gold & Christina Hendricks of Mad Men in ‘peachy champagne’…

Best Trend: Celeb.s outdoing each other for a good cause, for a change. Madonna, Sandra Bullock led the way with stellar donations for aid to Haiti as George Clooney leads a star-studded  TELETHON on JAN. 22; stay tuned…
PS: A big THANKS to Rachel Robbins for reminding us that no Golden Globe coverage is complete without mention of Amanda Palmer and her antics, including a see-through dress and a ‘drop-dead’ routine on the red carpet.

Check out the essay on Amanda Palmer, GAIMANDA, by Ingrid Mansfield on our StarLit. page…

(photos- Mo’nique: realityTV.about.com; double Meryl:NYDailyNews)

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GOLDEN GLOBE ‘LIVE BLOG’ UPDATE: competition between stars is usually not pretty. But this week, the stars are outdoing each other for a good cause. Madonna kicked things off donating a quarter million dollars to aid for Haiti; Sandra Bullock donated one million.

Clooney shows his serious side organizing a TELETHON for JAN 22

And George Clooney may raise 100 million dollars with Clooney’s MTV TELETHON on JAN. 22— stay tuned.

As noted on the Celebrity Pulp blog: “Tiger Woods, although he is a cheat and a liar, is still a very generous person.”

WYCLEF JEAN

This kindred spirit blog reports that Tiger is sending out a cargo plane and mobile health clinic to Port-Au-Prince.  Reportedly, Woods is considering more major aid initiatives.

But even with the best intentions, scandals can dog celebrity efforts.  Some recent reports question the Yele foundation and the efficiency of other celeb-driven charities; the best bets for donations may still be UNICEF and whitehouse.gov.

Still, in a tragedy of this magnitude, even the most ephemeral stars can make a big difference with big donations. Celebrity Pulp further reports:

“The Jolie-Pitt foundation will send $1M to help out, as Ben Stiller and Tea Leoni, UNICEFambassador, plan on going on sight in the next few days….It is also possible to donate $10 to the Red Cross by texting HAITI to the number 90999.”

Good info, good intentions and a rare good use of the $$ and powers of fame.

(Our own little celeb-obsessed blog doesn’t usually venture into this territory, but if even one passing blog reader uses the info. above, we tip our hat to Tiger and Celebrity Pulp and company.  Happy MLK Day Weekend…)

photos- Madonna: rapidshare-catalog.com; Clooney: kitmeout.com; Wyclef: googleimages

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