Saturday, April 19, 2014

Theme: Celebrity

  • It's hard to watch Sofia Coppola's 2013 The Bling Ring, which came out on DVD about a month ago, without feeling like you're at the end of a chain (no, I didn't say human chain) of recycled celebrity worship. The film tells the story of a group of vapid and glamour-obsessed teens in LA who figure out just how easy it is to break into celebrities' houses and abscond with their blingiest objects: their antique Rolexes, their Alexander McQueen sunglasses, their Louboutin heels.Read more
  • The rapper DMX is famous for his infamy. Fame came to him through his trademark rapping style and emotionally staggering songwriting, letting him become the powerhouse that has had five consecutive No. 1 albums. Infamy came to him through his continuous trouble in abiding several legal frameworks and law-enforcing authorities. The intersections of DMX’s fame and infamy, once responsible for his rise to mainstream prominence by inspiring soulful lyrics, is now following a pattern in which the infamy overshadows the artist’s creative credibility.Read more
  • In select company, he’s intensely social and charismatic, and, in spite of those famously shaming Bugs Bunny teeth, he was rarely without a girlfriend for the 30 years he spent wandering and couch-surfing before getting married in 1990. Today, he’s a yuppie—self-confessed, if you read his new novel, Bleeding Edge, as a key to the present life of a man whose travels led one critic to reflect: “Salinger hides; Pynchon runs.” Read more
  • Matt Weiner’s speedy, superficial finale leaves us with all “characters” acting out of character, all for the sake of a fake “epiphany” moment, familiar to every New Yorker moving to California, going to A.A., confessing to a group of confessors. All this after critics uniformly “blamed” Don Draper for “not changing.” Well, change he did and it isn’t a pretty picture… no one steps forward during Don’s psychotic break. Peggy turns vamp then shrew; Ted turns cad, Betty is talking good vs. bad.Read more
  • When Welles came to Hollywood, in 1939, at the age of twenty-four, he was already famous for his radio work—not least for the great “War of the Worlds” hoax—and heralded as the next big thing without having made a movie. (In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1940 short story “Pat Hobby and Orson Welles,” members of the Hollywood old guard, high and low, see him as a “menace” and a “radical.”)Read more
  • The problem with fame, or any unanimous praise, is twofold: 1. You are saying exactly what everyone is ready to hear and you are doing exactly what everyone is ready to see. There is almost no tension between yes-no. Ready not ready.Read more
  • It hasn’t been a good year for sporting heroes. Lance Armstrong finally admitted what just about everybody already knew, though with barely an apology to the people who devotedly followed him and his organisation, partly because he was such a winner and partly because he was such a winner in spite or because of having suffered and overcome testicular cancer.Read more
  • Men can’t just write serious songs anymore (Kanye West’s “New Slaves,” which I find arresting, but…) or make serious films or write serious books. They also need to date/marry/love serious women who are doing serious things other than dating so-called serious men. Women who actually reflect these so-called serious men’s so-called anti-establishment politics.Read more
  • From its very first issue in 1986, Spy Magazine was a radical project. It was not the product of celebrities and their PR teams, nor did it aim to please those in the public sphere. Voicing the frustrations of intelligent journalists in a sardonic way, it acquired a thinking following that hungered for the esoteric references that abounded in its pages.Read more
  • The cultural practice of the "perp walk" is a form of social performativity. The perp walk itself is not a performance, singular. Rather, it is a myriad of happenings, spectacles that are historically and ontologically specified, a genre of modern pop ritual recognized and claimed as an informal aspect of the judicial system, most specifically within the United States of America. Read more
  • I remember when I was a pre-teen and they moved into a loft across the street from me in Tribeca, where I lived. And an older neighbor friend told me they were living in her building, on the top floor. I saw him at my corner deli, and on the street smoking, but never her. At night, I sometimes looked up at their windows and saw their lights on. He was not very impressive in person. Cute, but no big deal. Read more
  • Who is Daphne Guinness and what does she do professionally? Why does Ms. Guinness merit to be profiled by The New Yorker, a staple of intellectually respected literary journalism?Read more
  • In a deleted take from The Wizard of Oz posted on YouTube, Judy/Dorothy breaks down during her iconic song. She doesn't sing "Somewhere Over The Rainbow," she weeps it. Did they want her to cry like this? Did they push her too hard, for too long, for too many years? Or did her crying overtake her and "ruin" the take?Read more
  • Last year’s short-lived reality show, succinctly entitled H8R (if you can’t decipher that idiom, you are too old to be watching the program), followed celebrities like Snooki and Kim Kardashian as they confronted people who’d said mean things about them on the internet. Read more
  • In a ceremony on June 10, Mike Tyson’s Hall of Fame photo and plaque were unveiled. The lead-up to this event—along with a new reality show about Tyson’s intriguing passion for pigeon fancying—has brought him back into the media spotlight. Read more
  • Earlier this week, Lainey Gossip posted a particularly critical reading of Reese Witherspoon’s current publicity attempts, with specific attention to the contradiction between Witherspoon complaining about her lack of privacy and the recent sale of her wedding photos to People and OK! Read more
  • It was in 1923 that the original sign, HOLLYWOODLAND, a gimmick and a brazen caption, was put up near the top of that hill, in letters fifty feet high and thirty feet wide. Read more
  • She started as a pin-up, that medium of titillation most popular in the 1940s and 1950s. Marilyn spent hundreds of hours in front of the still cameraRead more
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