Archive for April, 2010

An award-winning screenwriter at international film festivals and labs, Caitlin McCarthy has two projects in development: “Wonder Drug” with director Tom Gilroy (“Spring Forward”); and “Resistance” with director Si Wall (“Marbella Nights”).

**Good news continues to come in for Bret Michaels…

Bret Michaels: The Cruelest Month  by Caitlin McCarthy

When I heard on April 22 that Bret Michaels had been rushed to the hospital with a brain hemorrhage, it gave me chills. Exactly twenty-two years earlier – on April 22, 1988 – I had seen Bret’s band Poison open for David Lee Roth at the Worcester Centrum. My BFF in high school, Olga, held onto the back of my Izod as we made our way towards the front row. We were two preppies in a sea of perms and headbanger t-shirts, just begging to get our asses kicked by some pretty scary broads, but we didn’t care. Bret’s energy drew us to him. (No offense to David Lee Roth, but Poison ruled the stage that night.)

I know this may sound crazy to some people who only know Bret from reality shows like “Rock of Love” and “Celebrity Apprentice.” But if you were a teen in the mid to late ‘80s, you know that Bret was a star and sex symbol. Back then, heavy metal dominated radio and MTV (when they still played videos). It was impossible to miss Bret’s teased blond hair and made up face. I may have been preppy, but I liked his androgynous look. (My first celebrity crush on John Taylor of Duran Duran served as a precursor of this.) I also liked that Bret was genuine about entertaining his fans. You have to respect someone who respects the fans and never, ever takes them for granted.

Poison’s first album was released on my sweet sixteen: August 2, 1986. I remember dancing around my bedroom when “Talk Dirty to Me” debuted on the radio. The song is now on my iPod, and I have played it many times with my nephews on Guitar Hero. (Don’t worry: The boys pay more attention to the catchy tune than the lyrics.) (more…)

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THANKS for this Post, inspired by Morgan Callan Rogers on Cat Stevens (see below)

Penny2 is a regular commenter on the Celebrities in Disgrace blog.

My Intimate Hit List: The Power of Celebrities’ Music to Transport Us to Another Time by Penny2

Morgan Callan Roger’s beautiful essay about Cat Stevens reminded me of the power of celebrities’ music to transport us to another time.  Here’s my own personal hit list of my most transporting music memories:

**Madonna: This is really both a musical and a celebrity bonding.  Whenever Elizabeth Taylor passes away, I know I will call my mother to commiserate because Elizabeth Taylor is 3 years younger than my mother and has been a defining celebrity in my mother’s life–following each marriage, each movie.  Madonna has been mine–and like Mom, I don’t generally agree with all my chosen celebrity’s choices (A-Rod, now really!) but I will follow her for the rest of her (or my) life.

She is 6 years older than me but seems much closer in age to me (maybe because I have aged faster than she has!).  Material Girl is the song that defines 1984 and Halloween 1984 when a friend used my face as a canvas to truly, truly create Madonna–the hair, the bracelets, the make up, the whole effect.  Madonna MET Elvis that night–not really Elvis but a cross-dressed Elvis.  We all know that Madonna SHOULD have met Elvis.

**And Ray of Light–an amazing album that my husband and I listened to over and over and over again.  It came out the year we married, but we mostly listened to it when we had a toddler running around–it captures the frantic hyperactivity of a toddler boy in a way no other song ever has.

**The fastest I ever drove a car was along a stretch of Shea Boulevard in Scottsdale, Arizona listening to Born to Run. I was, maybe 23, had never had a ticket and was conservative in car driving behavior to say the least.  I looked down at my speedometer and was going 80!  I did not get a ticket.  If I hear Born to Run and am behind the wheel, I have to think “check yourself,” because I know that even today, at 46, it could easily happen again. (more…)

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Morgan Callan Rogers lives in the back-of-beyond in the Black Hills of South Dakota with her lovin’ man, a dog, and three cats. Her novel Rubinrotes Herz, Eisblaue See, (Red Ruby Heart in a Cold Blue Sea) will be published in Germany in August 2010. Please tell all of your German-speaking friends!

Followed by a Moon Shadow: My Secret Life with Cat Stevens

I married my high-school boyfriend when we were both nineteen – I know, huh – and we settled into playing house in an apartment on a hill in a tiny Maine town in the back of beyond. He sold clothes in a store downtown. I worked as a grocery clerk in a store a couple of villages over. And I wished, almost right away, that I could erase the whole thing and head in a totally different direction. I knew it wasn’t meant to be before we were married, but I lacked the courage to break up with him. He was prettier than me and he cried well, and I was weak and not really in the world much at that point.

After a year, I did take a header in another direction. I had an affair of the heart (not like A-Rod and Madonna, please – much more spiritual than that) with Cat Stevens, as he was then. Yusuf Islam is the name he goes by, now, but back then, he was Cat Stevens. Steven Georgiou was his birth name. He was British, part Greek and part Scandinavian. Wild, curly black hair, a sensitive, pale, Byronic face with an ebony beard, with dark, soulful eyes. And he had beautiful hands. Such a tragic turn in his life – living the life of a pop star when he was struck down by tuberculosis and spent a year in recovery, whereupon he had an epiphany and started writing songs directed at me, a lonely, chubby, 20-year old woman happier in her head than in her life. Wherever I am, girl, I’m always thinking of you… Cat sang to me. Tell me what’s making you sadly? Open the door, don’t hide in the dark… Cat sang to me. (more…)

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Are ‘Reality Stars’ really ‘stars’?  Maybe it’s more accurate to say ‘Reality Celebrities’– to cancel the expectation of shining talents that the word ‘star’ implies.  In other words: Why on earth did anyone think Kate Gosselin could dance?

Hollywood is full of actual actresses and performers who’ve trained for years to move onstage and who’d love a shot at Dancing With The Stars.  But of course, part of the appeal of a show like DWTS, as with much of Reality TV, is the cynical All-American fun of watching ‘ordinary people’ fail on camera.

Actually, Kate Gosselin held her own better than might be expected of a truly ordinary harried housewife who rose to TV ‘fame’ by parading her 8 offspring on camera and demonstrating her ‘talent’ for tying 8 pairs of shoes while quarreling all-too-realistically with her soon-to-be-ex husband (whatshisname, who tied with Levi Johnston here on our little blog for Disgraced Celebrity of Fall, 2009).

Just as unsurprising as Kate G. being bounced from DWTS are the reports that Kate and kids are ‘depressed.’  Is it any wonder that the rollercoaster ride of insta-(unearned)-‘fame’ has left this talent-free family reeling?  There is no ‘there’ there.  Here on the Blog, we use the term Balloon Boy Celebrities: those who rise into view fueled only by the hot air of Attention Desiring Disorder, doomed to pop and vanish.

Not that Kate G. with her new show in the works is going away anytime soon.  Maybe this Mom’s biggest talent is the ability to stir up ratings-boosting controversy, with a large share of her audience openly disliking her.  How else to explain the Headline status of her entirely predictable DWTS flame-out?  Is the ability to inspire both admiration and annoyance enough to fuel a career these days?  WDYT?

(photos: justjarard.buzznet.com)

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Justin Bieber fever is reaching a pitch this month with his star turn on SNL, his toothsome (he says ‘crazy as heck‘) cover shot on PEOPLE and his record-breaking Tweets.  Not to mention his selection as the lead ‘It Boy’ of 2010 on our little blog.

Bieber rules– for the moment.  Can the New Media phenom– who broke out on YouTube and is the same age as his teenage fans– last longer than it takes to Tweet?  I love how he looks ‘almost exactly’ like the boy next door, but for his wayward hair and how he sings in the soulful boyish style of a young Michael Jackson.  Does Bieber’s music match his hair & hype?

Justin Bieber says in his recent interviews that ‘what I have is the chance of a lifetime’ and that when he feels overwhelmed, he just thinks “I’m Justin.”

If he reaches a point in his skyrocketing career when he needs a bigger boost than just being Justin, he might do well to study the moves of fellow phenom-with-major-hair (and fellow celeb.s-blog-fave) Adam Lambert.

Lambert was able to parlay an American Idol ‘loss’ into a cult-style success.  This week, he managed to land in the spotlight again by channeling Elvis and returning to Idol as a ‘mentor’ offering frank friendly commentary to the young ‘wanna-be’s.  Watch Adam belt out Time for Miracles.  Lambert listed his own favorite male performers (notably heavy on gender-bending) as: Michael Jackson, Freddie Mercury, Lenny Kravitz and David Bowie.

As mentor on Elvis Night, Adam opined:

They all have great voices… I told them to wake up a little, have a little coffee… get their tongues out!

Would Lambert say the same to laid-back Bieber?  Do either of these sweetly singing coolly coiffed It Boys have what it takes for the long haul?

(photos: sodahead.com, blippit.com, flavorwire.com)

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Shaq & Shaunie

Shaunie is 'shocked, shocked' that her Basketball Wives might be seen as 'televised revenge' (Go, Shaunie!)

Welcome JUSTIN BIEBER & ZOOEY D. FANS; Scroll down for JB & ZD…

EX-WIVES CLUB… By Elizabeth Searle

Shaq is trying to ‘block’ his ex-wife’s upcoming VH1 series, enticingly titled BASKETBALL WIVES.  Shockingly, Shaquille O’Neal seems to believe this show might take the form of ‘televised revenge.’

Wherever would he get that idea?

Face it, Shaq.  The game is up.  It’s Open Season on celebrity ‘cheetahs’ like Tiger Woods and fellow star athletes– or Mel Gibson and fellow aging-lothario actors.  The public just isn’t amused.  In our last post, we posited an end to the Diva Era– including ‘male divas’ like Tiger and co.

The free ride may be up for these guys, in the present recession-era America, fed up with excess.  Not to mention an America with a healthy (or in any case a huge) appetite for ‘televised revenge.’

Blog fave. ‘lupinssupins’ captures the mood of a nation with choice words about the latest antics of Mel Gibson:

I don’t know if Mel Gibson even qualifies as a celeb any more, but if so, he’s a nominee for disgrace, if it’s he who dumped her– That after cheating (& boozing it up) on the mother of his SEVEN in-wedlock children, whilst maintaining a fundamentalist (read whacko anti-Semite) Catholic persona, then knocking up this kid, then putting her “post-baby figure” on proud display (as in “look what I caught!”), he’d now leave HER with a 5 month old baby. What a swell guy, eh?

There’s a lot of ‘swell guys’ out there who probably don’t much like the new ‘rules of the game.’  You play, you pay.  Ex Wives like Jenny Sanford are raking in readers with tell-all books.  Even the immortal power-player Shaq can’t block his ex’s sly moves.  I for one am rooting for the Wives.  WDYT?

PS: Thanks to ANTISTAR for alerting us to ‘breaking’ news on Larry King’s break-up

(photos: freddico.com, nj.com, sallimiblogspot.com)

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Are Divas ‘out’?  Is ‘Down-to-Earth ‘in’?  Mighty Tiger Woods lost the Master’s to ‘everyday guy’ Phil Mickelson.  Jon Stewart swoons over Obama’s economic advisor and possible Supreme Court nominee, the refreshingly down-to-earth Elizabeth Warren.

Meanwhile, the top two online videos last week showed the overexposed Tiger Woods faltering in his Master’s comeback and down-to-earth Tina Fey acing her own return, skewering over-the-top Sarah Palin on SNL.

BTW, Fey and hilarious ‘Everyman’ Steve Carell topped the box office last week playing an actually believable (if zany) everyday couple in DATE NIGHT.  Has recession-era America had it with glitzy glamorous demanding Divas?

Blog BFF and screenwriter Caitlin McCarthy spots a trend, writing:

Are divas getting downsized in this new era? Take a look at who (and what) has taken a hit recently and you decide:

  • Diva politicians like John Edwards
  • Diva religious figures like the Pope
  • Diva companies like the ones who helped create the Great Depression Part Deux
  • Diva countries like the USA (sorry, in the past, we’ve had that “Do you know who I am?” attitude with the world)
  • Diva terrorists like Osama Bin Laden
  • Diva athletes like Tiger Woods
  • Diva entertainers like Kanye West and Jennifer Lopez ….                                                                                                                         I think trendspotter Caitlin is onto something here…   (photos: atypicalamerican.com, nbc.com, nydailynews)

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