So it is clear that my attention to this blog has fallen by the wayside the last few years. There are many reasons for that including, but not limited to: a real, non-imaginary-man boyfriend, a house and a dog.
There is another reason that will be far more interesting to you which is that I have been writing a book! If you’ve liked what goes on here (when things were, you know, actually going on) then I guarantee you will like
What has been the most interesting thing about all this is not even the sculpted pretty-boys flexing their oiled pecs for the camera but the fact that all the publicity is being aimed squarely at straight women and gay men, traditionally two audiences Hollywood doesn’t really give a sh*t about because they are not straight guys. This has been SO REFRESHING for a few reasons:
Straight men aren’t the only people who like movies OR are titillated by sexy body parts
The actors in the movies seem to be game for just about anything and don’t seem to care about how cheesy it may look so as a result everything about the movie and the press tour looks FUN!
They are totally on board with flipping the standard “male gaze” (women as objects in film that exist for the pleasure of the male eye) which just about every other movie in creation is geared to – over to a “female gaze” in which the men in the movie become the objects
Look, I’m totally going to see this movie. I saw the first one and I’m a straight lady with eyes, I like a strong set of shoulders when I see them and male strippers are basically Boy Bands minus the nudity and singing. But honestly a major part of why I want to see it is because I want to support a press campaign that is actively courting at an audience who is usually ignored when a studio is trying to sell something.
In my early teens I developed an obsession with Late Night with David Letterman. I’m not sure how I discovered it but it must have coincided with when we got a VCR which allowed me to tape episodes (given that 12:30AM was much too late to be up on a school night!)
For much of my teen years I was an avid fan and would record a week’s worth of shows and then spend the weekend watching them. I even kept a notebook with a dedicated pen to write down my favorite quotes and skits that the show did. There was “Bridget Jackson’s TV Nest Egg” where he had a staffer who was getting married come on and perform to earn different amounts of money towards her wedding (for example, $600 for doing a puppet show); during a writer’s strike Dave had a fountain built in front of his desk that he called “The Dancing Waters” and every night he’d introduce it and Paul would tinkle on the piano and they’d light up the fountain – and – that was it. That was the bit! When he tired of that they changed it up and added various other liquids (milk or Windex) and re-named it “The Prancing Fluids”; there was his crush on Connie Chung (one of my favorite bits was him spending the day running errands with her and deriding her need to get “shoe trees for Murray” – her husband and Dave’s romantic nemesis Maury Povich); there was the woman in the building opposite 30 Rock that he started calling randomly and chatting with; or yelling demented things through a bullhorn at an annoyed Bryant Gumbel as the “Today Show” tried to shoot.
Dave was absurd, irreverent, caustic, snarky, hilarious and sharp. He made me realize what made me laugh the most and what I wanted to emulate in my own humor were those very same qualities. I truly idolized David Letterman and that notebook was my way of keeping track of what it took to BE David Letterman. In all honesty I wanted to grow up and inherit his show when he retired. With that deadline looming TONIGHT I clearly did not reach that particular goal. I could have possibly come close at one point: in college I was looking for summer internships and found one on The Late Show. By then my Dave Worship had dwindled but seeing that there was a possibility that I could actually WORK on his show pulled me right back in. As I scanned the requirements I found I did not meet an important one: I was not a Communications major therefore I couldn’t receive credit which was required as part of the Late Show Internship program. Once again, my Dave Dreams were dashed.
So Dave was a big part of my formative years and he was also strangely a comfort during a particularly rough time in my life. When I was 15 and my parents told me about their separation I went numb and curled into a fetal position on my bed. I remember them gently asking me if I would like the TV moved into my room so I could “watch Dave” and I nodded and the TV was set up next to my bed where I watched with glazed over eyes and willed Dave to make me forget what was going on outside my door. I don’t remember anything about the episode other than being grateful for the familiarity of Dave doing his monologue when everything else had just been turned inside out.
But their eventual divorce did lead me to another grand plan and that was to get my mother to marry Dave and have him adopt me, therefore making me an actual, legitimate heir to his talk show crown. My mom however, didn’t warm to this plan citing Dave’s cigar smoking as a deal breaker (around the same time Letterman had an actual stalker who was always claiming to be his wife so it is likely this particular plan would not have gotten very far.)
Last year when he announced his retirement I realized that I probably wasn’t even going to fulfill probably the easiest Dave Goal to reach and that was to go to a taping of his show. The last few weeks I’ve been DVR’ing the Late Show and getting very nostalgic and even weepy about my youthful adoration of Dave and all his silliness. In recent years when I’ve caught the show he seemed bored at best, cranky at worst. In this home stretch he’s loosened up considerably and it’s reminded me how funny he is and how big a part of my life he’s been these last thirty years.
Late night TV is a changed landscape and now the entire point of a talk show seems to be getting a good clip that will go viral the next day – the Jimmy’s are the co-kings of this. But Dave is still old school and I’m sure CBS is a little relieved he’s decided to go and that the more viral-friendly Stephen Colbert is coming.
Just watching the final Top Ten lists has made me a little weepy so I fully expect to be a sobbing baby when I watch his final show. I truly feel it’s not just a man who is retiring but an entire form of entertainment – the last original late night talk show. He’s going out with a lot of accolades and deserved thanks from comedians and other hosts who would not have careers without the goofy and hysterical path he paved. But to me he’ll always be the guy who made me want to be as funny as he was when I was still finding out who I was.
A few weeks ago I made a discovery. An awesome, fascinating, is-this-real-life? discovery. That discovery is named Anne Helen Petersen. “Who is Anne Helen Petersen?” you may ask – well let me tell you – she is my new idol. She is a doctor…of GOSSIP!! Not just gossip but CELEBRITY GOSSIP!! Only one of my favorite things ever!!
Me making my new discovery (reactiongifs.com)
I have a bachelor’s degree from a fancy college and that’s about all the academia I could handle. However, if someone had ever said to me in my youth, “Oh you like gossiping about celebrities and critiquing pop culture? Well you can get a doctorate in that” I may have done that very thing! People think gossiping about celebrities is frivolous but doing it with a PhD? Well that’s a prestigious career my friend.
Since this amazing, time-sucking, enthralling discovery I have been combing the internet for her work like the extremely focused lady I am. Thankfully she is very prolific online writing for Hairpin and Buzzfeed (where her piece on the birth of TMZ contains a fascinating backstory on the demise of the old Hollywood studio system and rise of the celebrity gossip industry.) And she’s just published a book about classic Hollywood scandals!!
So speaking of that, I LOVE OLD HOLLYWOOD SCANDALS!! I have been obsessively reading her pieces on Errol Flynn, Warren Beatty and, oh god the Hedy Lamarr one is just insane (you know, just your typical beautiful rich girl becomes poor, stars in the most provocative movie of the early 20th century, marries a millionaire Nazi who locks her in a castle, then escapes to Hollywood to become a movie star and six husbands and several shoplifting charges later is discovered to hold the patent for the technology that is the basis for the cell phones we all use today story. YOUR MOVE JENNIFER LAWRENCE.)
I love Petersen’s writing because it is accessible and not so stuffy academic that a few lines in you get bored because you don’t know what the hell the author is talking about. In this interview she explains her background in Cultural Studies (again, why did I not know I could study this stuff?? Career Development Office FAIL!) and why it’s valuable to study pop culture and be able to present it in an intellectual manner but without the requirement that you already have a PhD to understand it.
Her writing is smart, funny and very “chummy” as in she feels like your girlfriend who is gossiping with you about cute famous boys of all eras which, Hey Anne! I do that all the time! I love Cary Grant movies, Hollywood glamour and handsome dead actors. We should be besties 🙂
But let’s get back to the old scandals for a moment because they are often far more fascinating (and crazy) than anything that happens in today’s celebrity realm. Brad leaves Jen for Angelina. Snooze! That is nothing compared to the Elizabeth Taylor-Eddie Fisher-Debbie Reynolds-Richard Burton square of sex, cheating, death, alcoholism and really enormous jewels! (and guess who wrote about it?) Or one of my personal favorites after reading two Frank Sinatra bios earlier this year – the Ava Gardner and Frank Saga that involved adultery, affairs, abortions, suicide attempts, bullfighters (!!!) and one of the best things I have ever EVER heard in my life – per Ava herself from her bath as Frank stormed out after a fight:
Okay! If that’s the way you want it. I’m leaving. And if you want to know where I am, I’m in Palm Springs, fucking Lana Turner.
YOUR MOVE CHANNING TATUM.
And if old timey movie stars behaving badly isn’t your thing, Petersen writes about current celebrities weaving together pop culture and feminist theory, starlets and classicism and a topic that consumes us all as a nation: Taylor Swift’s love life! It’s all so interesting and explores celebrity in ways that often get ignored in our fast-moving-social-media world. She is basically what I aspire to be if I had any drive to be further educated and the ambition to be paid for thinking/talking/writing about things I love for a living. Hence, why she is my idol.
You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook and I’ll just be over here reading all her stuff – probably when I should be working at my job or on my life (which is why I do NOT have a PhD in Celebrity Gossip!)
Today is the 59th anniversary of James Dean’s death. The man would be 83 years old now and who knows what he would have done with his life and career had he survived a car crash. He may have gotten fat or bald, made terrible movies or been hawking products in TV commercials. Instead he is frozen in time just like this:
Eternally young, handsome and cool. Recently my boyfriend and I watched East of Eden because we were going to the central California coast where the movie is set. I watched Dean’s movies a lot when I was a teenager and spent most of that time alternately swooning and grieving that he was so stunningly beautiful and so tragically dead. Watching it now with an adult perspective I really appreciated how incredibly talented he was and how he certainly was one of the first true archetypes of the Wounded Misunderstood Man Child Who Just Wants to be Loved that so many of us are drawn to (paging Dr. Doug Ross, looking at you Tim Riggins.)
On our trip we drove out to Cholame where Dean died and is memorialized around a shady tree next to a diner right out of a movie set. The first time I saw it in the early 90’s there had been small sort of cameos of his face as part of the memorial that had been filled over with plastic to keep them preserved. But over the years fans had chipped away at the plastic attempting to get to the image underneath. Those were no longer there and I figured that this long gone, not many people stop there to see the memorial anymore.
Inside the Jack Ranch Cafe next door with its walls covered in Dean memorabilia, country music playing in the kitchen and warm cherry cobbler topped with vanilla ice cream we learned from our waitress that every single day people still come in there because of James Dean. EVERY. DAY. That’s some pretty amazing longevity for someone who is probably more well-known by Kids Today for merchandise with his face on it rather than his film work or cult of celebrity.
So rest in peace James Dean – nearly six decades gone and we’re still watching you, talking about you and looking for you.
I mean – you can’t beat a reception with WAFFLES!!
What hit me the most is Leslie’s vow, “I love you and I like you” which is so sweet and so necessary in a good relationship. You have to like the person you love, want to be friends with them even if you’re not anything more romantic. I totally believe this and it’s how I feel about The World’s Best Boyfriend, so I’ve taken to telling him, “I like you and I love you.” Thanks Leslie!
And how awesome were these kick ass bitches hosting the Golden Globes!?? My fave gossip blogger Lainey summed up what made them so great: their camaraderie, fearlessness and incredible timing. But what I also love about these women is that they are Grown-Ups. They were not child stars or jailbait-y starlets who are emotionally stunted, immature and entitled. They went to college, they had real life jobs, they had lives before fame and it shows in their work ethic and their commitment to being as smart and funny as they possibly can be.
And on top of it all – Real! Life! BFFs! Two women who are at the top of their games professionally and support one another and work together as beautifully as peanut butter and jelly – no backstabbing, cat fighting or undermining like you see among women all over the entertainment world. LOVE THEM!
Apparently it is a “pop-up store” which means it’s not permanent and is probably cashing in on the current 1D hysteria/Christmas shopping season. And while that’s lovely for all the One Directions fans I want to know how come we never had a Backstreet Boys Store?!?!? We had to make our own damn Christmas stockings and nesting dolls!
In related news I’ve decided that Pretty Boy Louis Tomlinson is who my Inner 14 YO girl would be writing “Mrs. Louis Tomlinson” all over her notebooks for. However, my actual grown-ass woman self wishes he’d do something about his hair:
You’ll note on the EW cover there is a story about “shippers” – that would be fans that root for a particular couple on a show. And do you know how that particular term got introduced into the pop culture lexicon? That’s right – by THE X-FILES 😉
So the weather sucked. It rained on and off all day and it was freezing outside. It is JUNE for fucks sake! TRY AND ACT LIKE IT! But that said, it did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of fans. It also served to fuel a determination in all 9 guys to perform this concert as if their lives depended on it (which – it kind of did considering how slippery the stage got!)
By the time the show started the rain had stopped and it looked like we were “in the clear” as it were. But about an hour in the rain started to fall, and then it came harder and faster and then it POURED. This was at the point where NK do their fan anthem Tonight and come out into the crowd causing mass hysteria.
Now maybe a few (crazy) people left – but very few. The rest of us pulled on ponchos and pulled out umbrellas (tip at a concert: NOT a good idea! Your fellow fan can’t see through your umbrella!) and it was almost as if the audience and the guys were all defiantly telling the stupid New England weather, “oh yeah? well BRING IT!”
Then something really wild happened during the Tonight downpour. It was as if all the crazy high energy that the show already had going for it – suddenly lifted into a whole other dimension. The New Kids turned the stage into their own playground – stripping off shirts (hell yeah!) and slip sliding down the runway stage like little boys on the first day of summer (while Joey McIntyre a.k.a “My Joey”) did an exuberant run around the bases!) It was amazing. The crowd went – and believe me this is saying something because it was already insane – but we went abso-fucking-loutely MENTAL at this point. It became like one enormous party and the energy was just astounding.
It is so hard to really explain or capture what it looked like, what it felt like – but this video is pretty great at giving at least a glimpse of it:
From that point on this concert became one for the ages. One of those “I was there” moments in the careers of both these bands. The Backstreet Boys came out next and fed off that crazy vibe and executed their flawless dance routines without a single misstep. In fact they seemed to be stomping their feet harder and making splashes to give it a real Singin’ in the Rain vibe.
I’ve been to so many concerts in my life – but there are only a handful where I’ve actually had the experience that something miraculous is happening: one that comes to mind is U2 in 2001 in the Boston Garden when I looked around during Where the Streets Have No Name and every single person was moving in a way that made it look as if the building itself was in motion – an actual breathing organism feeling the music along with us.
This show achieved that sensation. By the time the New Kids appeared on top of The Green Monster to start off the finale – I am pretty sure the park had turned itself inside out into a whole other world of it’s own! A world where we the fans could literally, LITERALLY see these guys dreams coming true before our very eyes. I really cannot imagine what a thrill it must have been for all of them – to not only play this particular show – but to do it in the most spectacular fashion – with rain pouring down in sheets and thousands of soaked to the bones fans screaming as if they would never stop.
Backstreet braves Boston fans by wearing Orlando Magic shirts!