Category Archives: commentary

Even at Age 17 Bowie Was a Rebel

I was looking for something completely else on YouTube when I ran across this gem of an interview. Little 17 year old Davie Jones, the leader of the The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Long-haired Men, gives an interview.

 

HILARIOUS.

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Rampaging Predator of the Sea

You’d think this would be an article dedicated to nasty icky sharks or, given the location, alligators but no. Today’s story comes to us from Louisiana, where they’re having a problem with some marine wildlife.

Kinda funny really, because I could see it going down like this:

Oooohhhhhh what a cute li’l OW MY LEG MY LEG!

[ Image source ]

At Least Kids Are Sometimes Funny, Right?

Today Roger Ebert reminded me of a hilarious website. Not, you know, personally. We weren’t, like, having our usual Friday lunch or anything. Anyway, tell me these don’t make you literally LOL:

This kid obviously is awesome.

Snicker.

Aw kiddo, I wanted to be an astronaut and realized the math problem. But hey, cheer up, that’s what liberal arts degrees are for!

*pounds desk* Warren rules.

I want to adopt this kid.

This kid can’t go work as a Michigan State Rep, but he COULD run for office in the GOP!

*rimshot*

Happy weekend! (and check out that website. It’s hilarious.)

Ah Vegas

My husband and I are going to Vegas for the first time soon so I was browsing listings of shows and ran into the ad for the Phantom of the Opera – the LAS VEGAS Spectacular!

Ok, let’s analyze this.

Only in Las Vegas will you have privy to the all-encompassing emotional journey that is Andrew Lloyd Webber’s newest version of Phantom of the Opera. With a new name, and not to mention a new $40 million custom-built theatre, this show is sure to please even the most skeptical theatergoers.

Because skeptical theatergoers are all about a Las Vegas-ized version of an incredibly popular musical? Hm. But it goes on…

As many Phantom lovers know, the play is set in 1911 in the famous Paris Opera House. After you take your seat, take a second to look around. You will notice that you have been transported into the story and you are in the center of the Opera House itself. Like no other musical, you are no longer a disconnected audience member…you are now an essential part of the story that is about to surround you.

Disconnected audience member? Because live entertainment is soooo disconnecting. Go on, tell me more!

Phantom is the story of a young opera singer, Christine Daaé, who is mentored by a mysterious vocal coach who appears only in the shadows and lives in a secret lair below the opera house. Daaé, still grieving the death of her father, believes that her “angel of music” is actually the ghost of her late father. After several threats made by the Phantom, Christine is forced to choose between the love of her life, a young well-to-do socialite, and a life of solitude with the Phantom. The Phantom promises great misfortune to the theater and to the lives of actors and audience members. This is what makes this version of the story so entrancing. The Phantom isn’t threatening a mythical theater. He’s threatening the one you’re sitting in.

OK, the emphasis there is mine. Because I literally laughed. NOT THE THEATRE I AM SITTING IN! Really writer? Doesn’t everyone by now know about the giant chandelier that will drop? Anyway, my favorite part, you ready for this?

What makes this show even more entertaining is that without cutting one note, the show was shortened from an almost three hour production to a 95-minute thrill ride that is much more audience friendly for those not used to sitting through Broadway-length productions. Sets change seamlessly before your eyes. There are no blackouts, no costume changes, and almost no down time. It feels as if you are watching a movie, except it’s being performed live, right before you’re eyes. But the play isn’t just a whimsical journey told in the universal language of music; it’s also, in a sense, a magic show with special effects that are sure to leave you wondering…”How did they do that?”

Ooohhh, so what makes it so magical and awesome is the lack of PLOT! Story? Character development? Who needs it? As long as it’s shiny, right?

And at the very end:

Interesting Fact
There are actually two performers for each of the main roles. This allows for no costume changes. This also allows the Phantom to seemingly appear and disappear from different parts of the theater. However, if you didn’t already know, you never would’ve noticed. Not even from the front row!

So, uhm, you’ve already talked about the magical “how did they do that” part of it, and then you basically revealed it? Also, if there are 2 actors and non-stop singing, doesn’t this basically mean that none of the singing is live? Laaaame. So yeah, guess what we’re NOT seeing?

And Just to Be Clear

I’m NOT pregnant. But according to the jackassery of Arizona all us ladies are abortion wanting baby makers who must be stopped (I’m overstating only slightly here) so if you live in Arizona, pay attention, speak up, and vote. I’m getting real tired of middle aged white guys wanting to decide things about my baby making parts while ignoring things like jobs, national debt, what’s going on in Afganistan, Africa, American education, and on and on and on. And if you missed it, you should watch this Funny Or Die video about Middle Aged White Guys making baby maker laws. I hate to leave on a downer so there you go.

So, Maybe I Have A Big Announcement

According to some pending legislation in Arizona:

On page eight of the proposed amendment to H.B. 2036, lawmakers lay out the “gestational age” of the child to be“calculated from the first day of the last menstrual period of the pregnant woman,” and from there, outlaws abortion “if the probable gestational age of [the] unborn child has been determined to be at least twenty weeks.”

The architects of the amendment say that prohibiting abortion after 20 weeks — except in cases of medical emergency — is necessary for the safety of both mother and child. By designating a life to begin weeks before even possible, however, some critics are condemning Arizona lawmakers for looking for a way to involve itself in abortion matters before it can even become an issue.

So… hey! I could be future pregnant by negative 2 weeks! Stupid useless birth control! 😉 (Seriously y’all?)

About Chris Brown Performing at the Grammys Tonight

This sums it up for me.

A Long, Long Time Ago, or Three Years Ago, But Who’s Counting?

For those of you who are currently listening to ‘Look at Me Now’ and wondering what the big deal is, a quick recap: The night before the Grammys in 2009, Chris Brown got angry at his girlfriend, Rihanna, and he took it out on her face. She went to the hospital and then to the LAPD, where this photo was taken and promptly leaked to TMZ. (The LAPD issued a stern statement on the leak, threatening penalties “up to and including termination”. TMZ reportedly paid $62,500 for the photo.)

Both Rihanna and Brown had been scheduled to perform at the Grammys the following evening. Neither did.

Instead, Chris Brown turned himself into the LAPD at 7 pm, was booked on suspicion of criminal threats and was released on $50,000 bail.

Then the Internet exploded.

I was a full-time entertainment writer at the time, so I had a front-row seat to the action. This is what I expected: I expected a string of celebrities to comment on how horrific this situation was, how sad and angry they were for Rihanna, how domestic violence is unacceptable in any context, how as a nation we need to condemn this and condemn it loudly.

Instead, Hollywood went silent and, when they did speak, they teetered on the brink of defending Chris Brown.

Carrie Underwood: “I don’t think anybody actually knows what happened. I have no advice.”

Lindsay Lohan: “I have no comment on that. That’s not my relationship. I think they’re both great people.”

Nia Long: “I know both of them well. They’re young, and all we can do is pray for them at this point.”

Mary J. Blige: “They’re both young and beautiful people, and that’s it.”

Jay-Z, one of Rihanna’s mentors, spoke up: “You have to have compassion for others. Just imagine it being your sister or mom and then think about how we should talk about that. I just think we should all support her.”

In a sane world, Jay-Z’s statement would sound insane. Why would he have to remind his fans to support Rihanna afterwhat happened is that she got hit in the face?

Jay-Z issued that statement because the Internet was, in early February 2009, engaged in a very serious conversation about whether or not all of this was Rihanna’s fault. In fact, large segments of the Internet had devoted themselves to making Rihanna the scapegoat for any woman who ever had the gall to do something worth getting hit, and then the cloying self-esteem to go to the cops about it. Bloggers and their commentators flocked to Chris Brown’s defense in droves. It was a full-blown tearing-down of female self-worth, an assault on any progress women have made in this country in the past 200 years, and the mainstream media ignored it.

It horrified me. It still does.

Later in February, a photo of Brown riding a jet ski in Miami hit the Internet, and singer Usher was caught on video commenting on it: “I’m a little disappointed in this photo,” Usher says in the video. “After the other photo [of Rihanna’s bruised face]? C’mon, Chris. Have a little bit of remorse, man. The man’s on jet skis? Like, just relaxing in Miami?”

The backlash was so severe that Usher was later forced to publicly apologize.

“I apologize on behalf of myself and my friends if anyone was offended,” he said. “The intentions were not to pass judgment and we meant no harm. I respect and wish the best for all parties involved.”

The message we sent to young women was unmistakable: You are powerless. You are worthless. You will be a victim, and that will be okay with us.

The Fall-out, and the Lack Thereof

In August 2009, Brown was sentenced to five years probation and 180 hours of community service after pleading guilty to felony assault.

In December 2009, he released his third studio album. It sold over 100,000 copies in its first week and debuted at #7 on the Billboard charts.

On June 8, 2010, Brown was forced to cancel his tour dates in the UK when the British Home Office refused to grant him a work visa on the grounds of “being guilty of a serious criminal offence”. Less than three weeks later, he performed ‘Man in the Mirror’ at the BET Awards’ tribute to Michael Jackson.

His fourth studio album, released in March of last year, debuted at #1.

In December 2011, Billboard crowned him their artist of the year.

And, this week, Grammy producers confirmed that Chris Brown will be performing on Sunday’s show.

“We’re glad to have him back,” said executive producer Ken Ehrlich. “I think people deserve a second chance, you know. If you’ll note, he has not been on the Grammys for the past few years and it may have taken us a while to kind of get over the fact that we were the victim of what happened.”

Read that quote again. Think hard about what is being said. Here is what this quote says to any woman who’s ever been abused:

  • By blacklisting Chris Brown from the Grammys for a “few” years (actually, a grand total of TWO Grammy Awards), the Grammys have gone above and beyond expectations for the social exile of an adult man who hit his girlfriend so hard she went to the hospital, and honestly it was really, really hard for them to show even that much support for victims of domestic violence worldwide.
  • It was rather thoughtless of Rihanna to go and get herself hit in the face by her boyfriend, because it’s put such a burden on the Grammys. Maybe if she hadn’t made such a big fuss out of it, things could have been easier for everyone.
  • The Grammys think that they were the victim of Chris Brown hitting Rihanna in the face.
  • The Grammys. Think. That they. Were the victim. Of Chris Brown. Hitting. Rihanna. In the face.

Hitting People Is Wrong, Y’All

I agree that people deserve a second chance. It’s great that we live in a country with a justice system that allows offenders to reclaim themselves and their lives after their sentence. I’m happy about that, and I hope Brown is a changed man at the end of his sentence. (The US justice system has Chris Brown on probation through 2014. It was nice of the Grammys to let him off a couple years early for high record sales good behavior.)

And my suspicion is that Rihanna has no interest in being a poster child for victims of domestic violence. She probably wishes this would all disappear, and I don’t blame her for a minute. She didn’t ask for this – for any of it – and she’s under no obligation to speak out about it.

But someone has to. Because what is happening here is unmistakable. It is, in my eyes, so unmistakable that I wonder if I’m wrong, if I’m missing something huge, because I cannot believe more voices aren’t railing against this.