Sour Notes

March 31, 2006

Tupac Shakur 

  • Tupac threatens to displace yet another living artist from the charts by releasing another new video.  [AHH]
  • K-Fed says that the title of his debut album, Playing with Fire, is self-explanatory, because it makes about as much sense as a pyromaniac's obsession with flames.  [CNN]
  • Speaking of K-Fed, Justin Timberlake makes it known that he thinks the aspiring rapper is "gross", because while Justin just pretended to be ghetto, K-Fed makes an art of it.  [The Scoop]
  • Whitney Houston's drug problems are reportedly sending her to the edge of ruin.  [Fox 411]
  • Foo Fighters are planning an acoustic tour.  [Billboard]
  • Three 6 Mafia have been in the studio with Paris Hilton; oddly enough, one would hope that they weren't recording music.  [XXL]
  • Is there a difference between rap and Hip Hop?  [Davey D]
  • Interview with Bubba Sparxxx. [PopMatters]

Friday Flurry

March 31, 2006

Mekhi Phifer 

  • Mekhi Phifer shows us that it's futile to consider other actors as competition, especially when the rest are so much more talented than you are.  [AHH
  • Looks (and sounds) can be deceiving.  [Adrants
  • Predicting celebrity deaths.  [Deathlist.net]
  • How to die on screen.  [LAT]
  • MTV's The Real World has been choosing crappy locations for the past few years, because it's been difficult to find new picturesque places to spread STDs.  [BWE]
  • What exactly did we do before the Internet?  [Metafilter]
  • Is this where the Whopper, Jr. comes from?  [Adrants]
  • Movie sequels that have dared to replace the original stars.  [LAT]
  • IMDb discriminates against gay marriages.  [Queerty]

Another Year, Another List of Annoying People

March 31, 2006

Isaac Mizrahi 

From the 2006 list of 50 Most Loathsome New Yorkers:

37.  Hillary Clinton (U.S. Senator)

As she prepares for her run for the presidency—whoops, we mean senator—it’s about time liberals took off the rose-colored glasses and realized that at least some of the character assassination coming from the right is grounded in very real personal flaws. True, she is intelligent, articulate and certainly ambitious. But she’s also arrogant, aloof and detached. Her unwavering support for the president’s Iraq debacle and her relentless opposition to gay marriage have finally attracted much-needed criticism from the left. Still, we are told to avoid in-fighting. But if the “liberal” Clinton’s policies are indistinguishable from her “enemies,” what’s the point? Fact is, Clinton’s “it takes a village” outlook is the kind of bloodless bureaucratic collectivism that overlooks persons in favor of “the people.” We suspect that, had Clinton lived in St. Petersburg, she would have been the kind of apparatchik who would have had no qualms about killing a few million kulaks for the good of the peasantry. We don’t begrudge her the Chappaqua estate or the Georgetown townhouse. But some true fellow-feeling for the welfare mother in East New York or the lesbian who has no visitation rights for her lover dying in the hospital would be nice. 

33.  Naomi Campbell (Supermodel)

It’s as if Naomi Campbell has spent her entire career trying to exact revenge for Linda Evangelista butchering her last name in the 1995 documentary about Isaac Mizrahi, Unzipped. Now that she’s become a first-name-only boldface, her last name seems superfluous. But her life story continues to unspool as if John Candy’s Planes, Trains and Automobiles character was replaced by a five-foot-nine-and-a-half, gorgeous but psychotic woman. Whether hurling courtesy phones at minimum-wage employees long before the Gladiator thought of it, pushing assistants out of moving vehicles or attacking airline passengers years before al-Qaeda, La Campbell has always been ahead of her time. But if that’s not enough of a story, try her 1995 “novel,” Swan. This 359-page dog-pile has the nerve to introduce a nefarious snuff-film impresario on page 335. It’s enough to make one tell Judith Krantz she can take Manhattan, as long as she takes Naomi with her.  But perhaps dancing is more your speed. How about 1995’s disco disc Babywoman, which was huge—in Japan? Poor Naomi, the fur was flying when she was caught in Milan working the runway in mink after her debut as a PETA spokesmodel. Even wax Naomi at London’s Madame Tussaud’s required her own velvet rope after visitors repeatedly molested her. Actually we love the naughty Naomi; you’re on this list because 2005 was an endless litany of excuses for bad behavior. Whether in the House of Lords or on the house of Tyra, this year has been a nonstop whine-a-thon from the 36-year-old. Reported drug use, crazed stalker, the Dalai Lama: You already have a mountain named after you outside Madrid: La Maliciosa. It’s a swift drop after you’ve reached the Valley of the Dolls. 

30.  Isaac Mizrahi (Fashion Designer)

We remember when the poor man’s Gianni Versace seemed to be fading into well-deserved obscurity. What was there to hate? He’s graciously fat; a charming queen and, after Unzipped showed him throw his tizzies with all Supermodels In Creation bedecked in his creations, he seemed to grow quietly obsolete. It seemed to make no difference that no one actually bought his clothes when he was a couturier, until his going out of business made the front page of the Times (his biggest cheerleader). But savvy branding made him suddenly ubiquitous: at Target (giving Starck and Graves a run for their money), on the tube (taking up where the Queer Eye guys left off). Then came the Golden Globes. Seems that’s when he overstepped his boundaries and morphed from perfectly harmless court jester to an object of disdain. By honking one of Scarlet Johanseens hooters, he became a devil in a tux. At last it was revealed: Isaac is a closet hetero! 

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The Real Key to Getting Rich

March 31, 2006

Donald Trump 

Create a multimedia marketing plan to pitch your "how to get rich" scheme:

Some 61,500 eager ticket holders paid from $49 to $499 to listen to a handful of national names like Tony Robbins, Suze Orman and Robert Kiyosaki (of the Rich Dad empire), along with a score of glint-eyed purveyors of get-rich-quick schemes. Donald Trump, the company's trump card, has been the keynote speaker for every Expo so far.

What do all of these people (Kiyosaki, Orman, Robbins, Trump) have in common?  They all have umpteen books/videos/lecture series/television shows that keep the money flowing in.  Once you take a minute to notice how slick they actually are, you forget exactly how they said they got rich in the first place.  It doesn't really matter how they made their initial "riches"– clever marketing is what keeps these people rolling in the dough.


News and Nonsense

March 31, 2006

Naomi Campbell 

  • Maids and personal assistants everywhere can breathe easy, at least for a few days.  Naomi Campbell has been arrested for yet another reported electronic portable device attack/assault.  [Gawker]
  • Just how is it that the Baby Boom generation keeps growing?  Are they cloning themselves?  [Adrants]
  • Interview with Steve Buscemi.  [LAT]
  • Getting to the root of the Dave Chappelle dilemma.  [Slate]
  • Russell Simmons will probably end up saving tons of money after his divorce from Kimora is final.  [Yahoo]
  • Interview with Denzel Washington.  [Independent]
  • Victoria Beckham is reportedly working on a book that will serve as a style manual for the woman on a budget, because Victoria is such an expert at finding bargains and making sensible purchases.  [Galleycat]

Musical Musings

March 31, 2006

Anastacia 

  • Interview with Anastacia.  [Arjan]
  • Profile of Robin Thicke.  [AOL]
  • Busta Rhymes has been having major anger issues recently.  [Jossip]
  • Since there's nothing new on Broadway, why not let Mariah Carey take a stab at embarrassing herself on stage there?  She's so good at it already, and that's not even counting when she decides to try talking.  [Contact Music]
  • Interview with Imogen Heap.  [UK Guardian]
  • Matthew Knowles challenges Simon Cowell to a sort of svengali/who's-the-better-puppetmaster duel.  [Jossip]
  • Javier makes another try at getting people to actually purchase his music.  [Vibe]

Whore Chic: The New “Feminism”

March 30, 2006

pole dancer 

Welcome to the world of "sexual subjectification", where middle-class, professional women get a kick out of pretending to be strippers and performing various acts of public exhibitionism:

…  Cake, an outpost of mainstream, third-wave, sex-positive feminism, where women are encouraged to be as wild as they want to be — and reminded to respect themselves in the morning. A New York City institution after only five years, this woman-run, woman-centered "sexuality enterprise" wants to start a new branch in San Francisco. The company offers a helping hand to primarily hetero, well-off young ladies, giving them a space to publicly explore and express their sexuality…

"Things have progressed," says Cake co-founder Melinda Gallagher in a later phone interview from New York. "We've gotten over the large myths and misconceptions; we've accepted that women's sexuality is a good, positive thing, with pleasure and all that. Now it's about the details. It's about getting down and dirty with yourself."

Cake has provided a wildly popular venue for that dirtiness, both in New York, where parties easily draw 800 people, and at its more recent satellite location in London. Women strut their stuff, and men are allowed past the velvet rope only if escorted by a lady. Some of the group's events have a more educational theme, like the lesson on female ejaculation (partygoers cheered on the demonstrator), and others have played with male exhibitionism, with men recruited to be amateur strippers and lap dancers. But those affairs are outnumbered by the strip-a-thons, lingerie parties, and regular events at which hordes of women turn out to take it off. Cake has succeeded because it taps into a trend that's much larger than the group itself: In a cultural moment defined by porn chic, the sexual habits of the mainstream American female are raunchier than ever before.

Instead of these women paying money to go to a club to see professional strippers and sex workers perform, they pay money to do the performing for their own pleasure.  Some say this is feminism, and that it is done in an environment that is non-threatening, because the men in attendance are all kept on a tight lease. 

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