Archive for May, 2010

Sarah Kowalski and Tigh Rickman are respectively a graduate of, and a candidate at Stonecoast MFA. Both longtime fans of reality televison, they are both relative newcomers to ABC’s The Bachelor. However, much like crack cocaine, it only took a small hit to hook them both, and now both watch religiously with their fiction writers’ eyes.

The Bachelorette: “Let the Journey Begin” by Tigh Rickman & Sarah Kowalski

So here we are, at the beginning of a fantastic journey that promises exotic lands, meaningful conversations and, of course, romance. It is the beginning of Ali’s journey as The Bachelorette, and in a matter of months one of the 25 strangers who stepped out of the limo before her tonight will walk away from this experience as her husband-to-be. But before the proposal, before the dream dates in exotic lands, before the hometown visits is tonight. And tonight she will awkwardly meet and mingle with these men and send home 10 of them—in effect ending their time on this journey before it even began.

On Ali as ‘The Bachelorette”

Sarah: So, to recap, our fair heroine Ali, following in the footsteps of Jake and Jillian before her, goes from jilted participant in the previous Bachelor season to star of her own.

Tigh: Yes! And I’m really excited to see her in action. On The Bachelor she seemed like the most normal one—girly, but normal. But now we’re going to get to see her in another light. Remember, when Jake was on The Bachelorette, he seemed normal too. It wasn’t until he became the star that we saw the depths of his true pathos.

Sarah: Well… he seemed… kinda normal. He did almost start crying and practically propose during his first date with Jill, if I’m recalling correctly. But the fact that Ali fell for Jake makes me question her taste in men. Especially since she purportedly wants someone who’s smart and funny above all else. Would anyone really consider Jake smart *or* funny?

Tigh: No. At least not intentionally. By the way, did you see him cry on Dancing with the Stars?

Sarah: Oh, man I missed it!

Tigh: Holy Jeez. But I digress… Well, we both saw this coming at the end of the last season of The Bachelor.  Nobody was better suited to take up the mantle of ‘The Bachelorette’ than Ali. She’s an all-American girl who’s been wronged romantically and is trying to find love. (more…)

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RIP, Gary Coleman

Lindsay Lohan— who just faced an LA judge and who says she doesn’t belong in jail or rehab— began her career at age 3.   She became a fresh-faced star at the tender age of my son, 11.  Like such precocious child or teen performers as Michael Jackson and Brittany Murphy (sadly back in the news too), Lohan never had much chance for normal life or growing up.

Her first big hit was The Parent Trap.  From her own accounts, due in part to hopelessly Hollywoodized parenting, she grew up in a Child-Star Trap.  (Do Child Stars ever turn out halfway normal?  We’d have to dial back to Shirley Temple who grew up to be a seemingly sane twotime-Ambassador for a role model on that one…)

Lately, Lindsay seems to have reached Britney Spears head-shaving levels of defiant self-destructive partying, her honey blonde hair dyed pitch black and her once angelic face aged beyond her years.

Lohan has talent to burn and was once praised by Meryl Streep as being wholly ‘alive on the screen.’  And maybe nowhere else.  Again like Michael Jackson, the older but no wiser Lohan has taken on a Living Dead zombie look.

She was recently cast as porn star Linda Lovelace, a role that might allow her to channel her dark energies– if she’s not jailed before she can shoot. The LA judge has ordered random drug testing for Lohan.  Hopefully she isn’t toying with the kind of lethal drug cocktails that led to Brittany Murphy’s tragic death.  Murphy’s young husband was just found dead by what were deemed ‘natural causes.’  But there’s little natural about lives lived, since youth, in the celeb. spotlight.  Is there a safe way out of the Child-Star Trap?

(photos: completelyadorable.com, photobucket.com, Allmandandlee.com, topnews.inc, famozz.com)

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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”).

“Nikki Sixx: From Bad Boy to Good Man” by Caitlin McCarthy

With so much focus on cads these days, I thought it was time to highlight the bad boys who became good men.

My favorite example is Nikki Sixx.
As many of you know from my previous blog posts here, I attended numerous concerts at the Worcester Centrum growing up. I made a point of seeing all my favorite bands in the ‘80s, with only one exception: Motley Crue.

It takes a lot to intimidate me, but in the ‘80s, Motley Crue did just that. Like Lord Byron, they were mad, bad, and dangerous to know. Sex, drugs, and violence followed them wherever they went. Just read the group’s autobiography “The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band” and Nikki’s memoir “The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star.”

Motley Crue attracted a “motley” crowd to their concerts back then. As a preppy, my bob and clothing got the stink eye from Poison fans. I feared Motley fans wouldn’t limit themselves to just dirty looks. I honestly believed they’d do much worse to me, egged on by the wild energy of the show.

So I settled for watching Motley Crue on MTV, zeroing in on Nikki Sixx. Whenever he was interviewed by a VJ (remember them?), I paid attention. Even though Nikki was in the throes of a horrific drug addiction at the time, and living the life of a rock star in the worst possible sense, he struck me as a decent guy at heart. His lifestyle choices didn’t diminish his musical ability. (Nikki is Motley Crue’s bassist and main songwriter.) He also came across as a smart businessman. He was (and still is) a natural, a true star. (more…)

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Jesse James faces the Nation on Nightline for his requisite ‘What were you THINKING?’ interview.  Will he match the refreshing honesty of his Public Apology, in which he said, “I deserve every bad thing that’s coming my way.”  Stay tuned for James Watch updates.

Meanwhile, even I (whose own modest campaign contribution may have been ‘misused’) felt Sympathy for the Devil in reading that (according to the Enquirer, our nation’s Paper of Record on this particular trainwreck), John Edwards is understandably ‘terrified of jail’ and is desperately plea-bargaining with prosecutors who are applying ‘the screws.’  Edwards, the intrepid Enquirer assures us, will at least, at last, admit ‘some guilt.’

While I’m not hoping to see the thoroughly disgraced Edwards led away in chains, I’m not rooting for a Happy Ending for the equally disgraced but less accomplished Mark Sanford and his Argentinian paramour.  Sanford– in his usual TMI style– confirms that he and his erstwhile lover attempted to ‘reunite’ in Florida.  Here’s hoping the lady’s poolside reading was Jenny Sanford‘s Mark-bashing bestseller.

Another cad on the Comeback Trail is former NY governor Eliot Spitzer, who has made a second career as a TV Talking Head, scoring gigs on CNN, MSNBC and Colbert.  The smooth-talking Spitzer is allegedly under consideration to replace CNN’s Campbell Brown– who followed the Jesse James school of refreshing candor in her own Public Statement. Brown straightforwardly acknowledged that she wasn’t leaving her show to ‘spend more time’ with her family.

Campbell, in my book, deserves a Comeback more than any of these cads.  WDYT?  (And hey, how will Jesse do?)

PS: THANKS to JOHNNYCAKES for sending in this shocking link showing CNN at its worst

(photos: avagacser.wordpress.com, blogs.cqpolitics.com, freakingnews.com, babble.com)

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Bullock needs to watch her back

Soon celeb.s may design ‘pre-nup.’ agreements with those closest to them– their book-deal-hungry Bodyguards and Nannies.  The STAR warns: HOLLWOOD HOUSEKEEPERS TELL ALL and alleges the Brangelina household to be piled with pizza boxes plus hair-dye on the walls.  Tabloids are a price of fame, but I feel for Public Mothers.

The 'Brangelina Bunch'

Stories on Sandra Bullock quote ‘insiders’ saying Bullock is pouring her stepmother heartbreak into a ‘tell-all diary’ that may become a book.  Motherhood is always a challenge; Public Mothering has unique perils.  I have no problem with criticism of self-created celeb. Kate Gosselin for DWTS mis-steps and general lack of talent, but I felt for her when she and her ex were publically court-ordered into Parenting Class.

A-list star Moms face judgement too.  Brangelina is not only dealing with pizza-box-pile-up but with fallout from an ex bodyguard of Angelina Jolie‘s.  He claims that Angelina doesn’t live up to her super-mama image, allegedly laughing when her kids cry.  Of course, as any Mom knows, sometimes laughing is all you can do to keep from crying yourself.

Paul McCartney’s ex wife Heather comes in for bashing from her once-trusted nanny, who details Heather’s alleged tantrums and stinginess. From Nannies to ‘insider’ snipers, celebrity Moms can trust no one. Do the new breed of backstabbing bodyguards go too far?  Is discretion dead?  And why are Celebrity Dads less often in line of fire?

PS: Thanks to Eugenio for the Onion’s shocking ‘Study Reveals Dolphins Lack Capacity To Mock Celebrity Culture‘…

(photos: Brangelina Bunch image: poptculture.com, shoppingblog.com, thequake, saidaonline.com)

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jeremyphotoJeremy Lakaszcyck has received awards from Playboy magazine and the Jack Kerouac Estate for his writing. His fiction can be found in the current issue of  Slush Pile Magazine.

A Proposal for Thomas Kinkade (thank you chatroulette)

by Jeremy Lakaszcyck

I highly recommend watching the Home Shopping Network at 3 a.m. It’s as if everyone has gone home for the day, leaving charge to the sullen intern on furlough from the local state mental institution. Tonight a caller chants God Bless You so insistently I’m convinced for a moment I’m hearing the frump of the broken dryer in the basement. She’s praising her idol, Thomas Kinkade, live in studio with his overdyed beard (too early for a Billy Mays joke?) and creepy Cheshire grin.

I’ll never forget my first and only trip to the Thomas Kinkade store. I bumped into a ponytailed woman fingering the cell phone clip of her jean shorts. “I’m blown away by these,” she said, eyes agape at a flower-draped gazebo awash in opalescent light. “Ab-so-lute-ly blown away.” I ran out of the store without a word, driving out of the lot as fast as I could, taking a cold shower as soon as I got home.

According to various newspaper reports, Kinkade raked in over $50 million during the same period his signature stores tumbled towards financial ruin. He’s been taken to court numerous times by owners of these stores, and in one case was ordered to pay a Virginia couple $2.1 million for damages they claim the artist could’ve prevented. Kinkade has been mum on the scandal, instead reiterating his steadfast faith to God. According to the notable names database, he’s branded his four daughters with the same middle name (Christian) to show just how faithful he is.

After seeing him on HSN, I can’t help but wonder how the self-described “most collected living artist” fares among popular culture today. I enlist the help of internet sensation chatroulette.com, a website that pairs random strangers in a live video feed. My thinking is that people on the newly popular chatroulette represent what’s ‘going on’ in the world; the people so far out on the cutting edge of pop culture they’re almost falling off into the black vacuum of the future.

I set up Kinkade’s “The Christmas Cottage,” his most popular work, in front of my webcam. The image depicts a snowy winter scene, trees surrounding a cabin strewn with Christmas lights. (more…)

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“I feel so sad for Sandra,” fellow celeb-watcher friends have remarked to me, along with celeb-watcher strangers online.  The latest on Bullock include stories that she will abandon her film career.  Could she be balking, in part, at the national Pity Party on her behalf?

Recently at the Maine Festival of the Book, while giving a talk on the power of celebrity stories, I asked the audience which current celeb. stories they were following most intensely.  Sandra Bullock, came the chorus.  Or, from the female voices,  just: “Sandra!”

Why Sandra?  Why do I feel it when I was not especially a fan?  Shiny Hollywood marriages shatter regularly.  Far from ‘blindsided, Bullock chose a professional Bad Boy.  Yet her particular Hollywood tale of woe wrings hearts and rivets millions.

High-contrast makes for high drama. Like a scene out of the Judy Garland weeper A STAR IS BORN (in which her drunken hubby slaps her at the Oscar podium) Sandra Bullock beamed at her husband from that real-life podium a mere week before his betrayal bombshell hit.

It’s Sandra Bullock’s gift to seem almost ordinary, her beauty quirky enough to suggest someone we all know.  Blog wise woman Judith Podell put it this way:

She’s like the girl who gets elected Prom Queen in an upset election because she’s so nice and such a good sport, only in her case it’s the Oscar. She has–or had a good comic actress face, I think work has been done to make her “prettier”. I loved Miss Congeniality.

Bullock seemed to have found a rare real-life Happy End with a rough-hewn heart-of-gold guy, one who even came complete with adorable children.  The ‘child’ issue here is particularly poignant.  How many women in their forties who have wanted children are relating to Sandra’s very public yearning for a family?  (Which is emphasized further by the new rumors that her reason for turning her back on Hollywood is to focus solely on her infant son).

Finally: the eyes have it.  Bullock often takes on a jaunty persona, but her meltingly brown doe eyes suggest vulnerability, elevate her Nice Girl face into beauty and make her an Oscar-caliber actress to boot.  Will this latest cruel twist of fate, ironically, make her star shine even brighter?  Or will Jesse James’ seamy secrets eventually tarnish Sandra too?  Will she actually leave Hollywood and all our pitying prying eyes for good?  WDYT?

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