Thursday, 5 August 2010
Thursday, 8 July 2010
Sunday, 20 June 2010
Monday, 7 June 2010
No, that's not a drag queen - it's the one and only Kylie Minogue. This past Saturday night, Kylie made an appearance at New York nightclub Splash, which is a bit of a gay institution located in the heart of Chelsea, and performed her new single 'All the Lovers' and some other tracks from her new album 'Aphrodite'. Man, I wish that I could have been there....and not just coz of Kylie.....check out the go go boys on stage with her!
Friday, 4 June 2010
I went to The Monster GaGa, hosted by the one and only Lady GaGa, with my sister in Manchester last night. It was my second GaGa concert experience. The first time that I saw her perform was almost a year ago, back in London. The first time was a barebones affair with sets that looked like a bunch of GaGa's friends got together and used their DIY tools to produce them. It was also a much shorter set; one that lasted just under an hour. A lot has changed since last July - she's won a truckload of awards (including two Grammy Awards and three Brit Awards), been the subject of an episode of Glee (which puts her on par in terms of cultural impact as Madonna!), been namechecked by President Barack Obama (at the Human Rights Campaign's 13th Annual Dinner back in October 2009) and released the successful companion piece to her debut album 'The Fame'. With 'The Fame Monster', Lady GaGa's expanded repertoire of songs allowed her to put together a much longer show, one that lasted almost two years and it's rather incredible how many hits she has accumulated in such a short time. Above is a clip of 'Paparazzi' that someone kindly recorded and uploaded from the concert in Manchester the night before I went.
The show began, appropriately enough, with 'Dancing in the Dark' and it was a rather intriguing beginning to the show - as the curtains lifted, we set GaGa already standing at the top of a staircase on the stage, where she remained motionless for most of the song. Not only were the sets bigger and better, employing lots of hydrolics, there were more dancers and much more costume changes. My favorite song from 'The Fame Monster' is 'So Happy I Could Die' and GaGa performed this number in an ensemble that resembled a wedding dress made from folded film that opened and closed like a lizard. That number has so much beauty in its simplicity and serenity and this was literally heightened when she was lifted up high to create the impression of her ascending into heaven. Another striking moment came during 'Monster' when GaGa and her bevy of bodaciously-built male and female dancers acted out the line 'He ate my heart and then, he ate my brain', resulting in GaGa being smeared with red body paint on her chest.
As a live performer, this Lady is pure class and charisma. I am just so awestruck by how someone so young can have such a commanding presence. GaGa's obvious pleasure, comfort and confidence at being onstage and adored by thousands of fans puts the likes of Britney Spears to shame. That she manages to create intimacy that belies the size of the venues that she's performing in nowadays is incredible. That she's a gifted vocalist and musician (she plays GaGa also engages her audience in spontaneous, effortless banter through out the show. I couldn't help but be reminded of Madonna watching GaGa, not because I see GaGa copying Madonna (although we all know that every female pop icon that came after Madonna is indebted to her in one way or another), because both of them embrace the power of image and self-expression and the necessity of projecting all of your dreams and fantasies. My sister and I were on the standing floor and we were literally two meters from the stage. We were on our feet for two hours before she came out and another two hours for the show itself. My feet and my back were aching like mad but I just danced away all the mundane frustrations of daily life and for one night, we were all her little monsters.
Friday, 28 May 2010
Monday, 24 May 2010
Wednesday, 12 May 2010
Following the successful Facebook campaign to get her to host Saturday Night Live and her stellar performance on the show last weekend, Betty White is finding herself at the centre of a brand new Facebook campaign – this time, her fans want her to be appointed the host of the next Academy Awards. At last count, the group already has over 13,000 members.
As much as I love Betty and thought that her stint as SNL host was a true class act, I wonder how much sense it would make for her to host the Oscars. Sure, the lady is a pro at performing live, having come in the entertainment industry at the advent of radio and live varieity shows on television but the gig itself is a demanding one for anyone, let alone someone who’s pushing 90. It would be too much to ask of the fabulous Ms White but who knows? The woman is still a ball of energy and charisma that most people a quarter of her age can’t muster so if anyone can defy our expectations of senior citizens, it's Betty.
As for whether or not the Academy would even consider this idea, I say, they would be stupid not to! After all, the ideal host for the Oscars should be someone who’s funny and charming and most of all, so beloved by their peers that they can get away with poking fun of any of them. Furthermore, can you imagine the ratings bonanza that it would create? Betty’s stint as host was the highest-rated episode of SNL in 18 months, since the height of the 2008 US Presidential Election. Finally, never underestimate the power of a grassroots campaign!
Speaking of Betty White on SNL, how awesome was it to see on the same show the return of many former female SNL cast members (such as Molly Shannon and Ana Gasteyer) from the recent past in this Mother’s Day-themed special. It was like 2006 all over again with Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Rachel Dratch and Maya Rudolph popping up in support of Betty White. What a treat to see many past favorite characters like Maya’s Whitney Houston and Amy and Tina on Weekend Update doing a ‘Really!?!’ segment with Seth Meyers.
Tuesday, 11 May 2010
After 13 years of Labour rule, the United Kingdom has a new Prime Minisiter in Conservative Party leader David Cameron, who, at 43, becomes the youngest British PM in almost 200 years. Gordon Brown resigned today and in his speech, graciously took full responsibility for Labour's defeat in last Thursday's General Election. It is going to be interesting to see Mr. Cameron lead a minority government in coalition with the Liberal Democrats and I sincerely hope that they can bring about some positive changes to the UK. Even if it is for just one day, as we acknowledge the dawn of change, we must put aside our cynicism because now is the time for optimism and action.
Tuesday, 4 May 2010
Scarlett Johansson became a Tony Award nominee today (in the category of Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play) and, in the process, reaffirmed her claim as an actress of substance. In 2003, at the tender age of 18, Johansson became a critical darling for her leading role in 'Lost in Translation', winning a Bafta and a Golden Globe nomination for her minimal, precocious performance. Although I would definitely call myself a fan, it feels like she has not lived up to her potential in recent years, with her acting career becoming increasingly sidetracked for her full-time career as a celebrity, one who is more visible for her ad campaigns, selling products as diverse as Moet & Chandon champagne, Mango clothing, Dolce & Gabbana cosmetics and Calvin Klein fragrances, than for her acting. I am glad that with her Broadway debut, in the highly-acclaimed revival of Arthur Miller's 'A View from the Bridge', Ms Johansson can redirect attention to her acting talent.
Other screen favorites, from both film and television, proved their mettle as 'legit' actors today by scoring their first Tony nominations. Amongst the nominees are Emmy-winners Kelsey Grammar (La Cage aux Folles) and Sean Hayes (Promises, Promises), as well as Oscar-winners Denzel Washington (Fences), Christopher Walken (A Behanding in Spokane) and Catherine Zeta-Jones (A Little Night Music). Zeta-Jones' 'Night Music' costar, the legendary Angela Lansbury, is poised to win a record-breaking sixth competitive Tony, this time, for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical.
Speaking of acting greats, I must pay tribute to the magnificent Oscar and Tony-nominated Lynn Redgrave, who passed away after a long battle with breast cancer on Monday. The Great White Way will dim its lights in her honor tonight.
For the full list of nominees for this year's Tony Awards, click here.
Wednesday, 21 April 2010
Sunday, 18 April 2010
The economic impact of this unprecedented ban can only be estimated but beyond the losses that must be absorbed by the air travel industry, I feel a great deal of sympathy for many travelers who have been hit by this, especially the ones who are unable to return home. As much as it would suck to have to postpone or cancel your holiday plans because you can't fly out, I would say that it would suck a great deal more to be at the other end of your holiday and not being able to return home. Imagine having to spend night after night at the airport as you restlessly await the announcement that flights are resuming, which many people are having to do since they either can't get a hotel room or can't afford the extra nights of accommodation added to their trips.
Pierce Brosnan is a formidable presence as our beleaguered former Head of State while Ewan McGregor is fantastically droll (there were certain moments when he reminded me of a younger, more handsome Ricky Gervais - no offense, Ricky) as the unknown ghost writer. I must also mention what a joy it was to see Kim Catttrall so engaging in a role other than Samantha Jones and to see Olivia Williams run away with the entire film for her portrayal of the fiercely intelligent and questionable wife of the former PM (a wonderful contrast to her lovely performance as a kind-hearted schoolteacher in the recent Best Picture Oscar nominee 'An Education').
While subtlety is the key to the success of the thriller element of the movie, it is the transparent allusions to Halliburton, Condoleeza Rice, Robin Cook and the Blairs themselves that make this film such a timely and entertaining political satire. Polanski has already won the Best Director award at this year's Berlin Film Festival. I sincerely hope that this film will be remembered come next year's movie awards season.
Tuesday, 13 April 2010
Tina Fey's new movie 'Date Night' just opened at No.2 at the US box office and opens in the UK on April 21st...I am so there.
Friday, 9 April 2010
Also, I gotta say that I'm lovin' the ladies being taken out of New York City and transplanted in Abu Dhabi rather than the obvious choices of going to London or Paris (mind you, they already did that, haven't they)...now, that's being truly cosmopolitan!
Monday, 8 March 2010
As much as I wanted Meryl Streep to finally win her third Oscar, I can't begrudge the lovely Ms Bullock her triumph, especially after her incredibly humble, touching and charming acceptance speech. The big story is that 'Avatar' was defeated by 'The Hurt Locker' in the Best Picture and Best Director categories and the fact that the director of 'The Hurt Locker' Kathryn Bigelow used to be married to James Cameron, who directed 'Avatar', hasn't been lost by anyone who has been following this awards season. Ms Bigelow made Oscar history by becoming the first woman to win Best Director in the Academy Awards' 82-year history. History was also made when the screenwriter of 'Precious: Based on the Novel by Sapphire' Geoffrey Fletcher won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, becoming the first African-American to win a writing award! I applaud these trailblazers!!!
Saturday, 23 January 2010
Friday, 22 January 2010
John Park is the kind of American Idol contestant that makes you grateful for the show - he's there to try his luck using only his talent, no gimmick, no sob story to guilt the viewer into rooting for him. Besides the fact that he's a handsome Asian-American (an ethnic minority that is sorely underrepresented on American Idol and every other mainstream television show in America...case in point, the hit freshman show 'Glee' has a character called 'Other Asian'....yes I get that the irony is intentional but it's kinda symptomatic of the American media's negligence in wider representation), I am hoping that John can go the distance in this competition because his deep voice is gloriously masculine and effortlessly smooth. Also, it was pretty damn funny the way John brought out the cougar in guest judge Shania Twain! Damn, she was ready to pounce!!!
Thursday, 21 January 2010
Wednesday, 13 January 2010
Still, I have a great suggestion for who should take over Simon’s spot. I’ll give you a hint - the very first winner of American Idol!!! Kelly Clarkson would be perfect because there’s something poetic about the winner of American Idol Season 1 going full circle and becoming a judge and mentor to the contestants of American Idol Season 10. To use two of the most overused words by the judges of American Idol, Kelly would be 'relevant' and 'contemporary', which puts her in a position to be able to give contestants the kind of advice and constructive criticism that none of the other judges can because none of them have ever been on the other side of the audition room….I mean, I love Ellen as much as the next gay but c’mon! Kelly has firsthand experience in cultivating a voice and an image that is marketable in a highly competitive industry and in dealing with pressure from your own label and the scrutiny of the media and fans. More importantly, Kelly would make a spunky judge. Although she won Idol with her sweet as apple pie image, Ms Clarkson has proven herself to be an outspoken artist who will call out the very people who work with her, if she feels like they are not looking out for her best interest….just ask Clive Davis or Ryan Tedder.
Of course, the question is, why would Kelly Clarkson want to take up a judge’s seat when her recording career is still going strong? After all, by the time American Idol began in 2002, Paula Abdul’s recording career had already dried up for over a decade (God bless her heart…I’m Forever Your Girl, Paula!). Kelly’s recording career may have peaked a few years ago (when she won her Grammys in 2006) but the girl still has some mileage left in her. Well, to answer this question, all you have to do is look at Cheryl Cole’s career trajectory. The judge of The X Factor in the UK started her judging duties in 2008 and since then, she has launched a very successful solo career, thanks largely to the platform that her television work created for her music career. I think that Kelly would be wise to follow suit and throw her hat into what will surely become an overcrowded ring!
Wednesday, 6 January 2010
They say that acceptance speeches given at lesser awards prior to the Oscars are a great opportunity for candidates to raise their profile to Academy members and to audition for a shot at the main golden boy! Jennifer Hudson accepted her Golden Globe for 'Dreamgirls' three years ago with an emotional speech that led to her eventual win at the Oscars. Well, if that's the case, I'm afraid Mariah did her campaign no favors by turning up without a prepared speech and talking out of her ass. Oh, Mimi, I had such high hopes for you and your lovely, subtle performance in 'Precious'....why did you go and ruin it!!! Or, could it be, that this was some sort of genius, subversive strategy on her part to draw an even bigger contrast between her no-nonsense character and her on-another-planet diva persona? If so, well played, Mimi....well played!