Wednesday, June 30, 2004

On The Declining Influence of the Political Conventions

"Our next task is to study coming-to-be and passing-away. We are to distinguish the causes, and to state the definitions, of these processes considered in general-as changes predicable uniformly of all the things that come-to-be and pass-away by nature."
Aristotle, On Generation and Corruption

From Niccolo's Smile, by Professor Maurizio Viroli, "Machiavelli's Discorsi Sopra la Prima Deca Di Tiudo Livio, III, 6: it concerns Caterina Sforza Riario, a great beauty of her day and a woman Machiavelli thought of fondly, '(Some conspirators) killed Count Giordano, their lord, and took his wife and small children. Since they did not see how they could be secure if they did not become masters of the fortress, and the castellan were not willing to cede it to them, Madonna Caterina (so the Countess was called) promised the conspirators that if they let her enter it, she would deliver it over to them and they could keep the children with them as hostages. With this pledge they let her enter. As soon as she was within, she stood on the walls and berated them for the death of her husband and threatened them with every kind of revenge. And to show that she did not worry about her children, she showed them her genitals, saying she still had the means to make more of them.'"

As the television news division increasingly morphs into entertainment division (and anyone who reads this blog knows that I don't necessarily think that that is a bad thing), the political convention is becoming an endangered species of sorts. And that is unfortunate.

According to the policy wonk bible, The Hill, and it's intrepid reporter, Geoff Earle:

"The major TV networks are planning to cut coverage at the political conventions, ignoring major speeches early in the week.

"The Republican and Democratic parties hope to nudge the networks into more live coverage, but broadcasters have concluded that there will be little news to report."

Frankly, this comes as sad news for all involved. As a child I can still remember the Dukakis nominating convention, where Jesse Jackson and The Duke fought it out for a surprisingly long time. the Puerto Rico delegation abstained, hoping to get around antagonizing the useful Jackson, while another state gave Duke the Democratic Party nod. Then Duke came out, looking rather constipated, in sockless shoes to affect a preppy nonchalance; sitting with his wife, benevolently accepting the favor of the Party's nod. Such was my geeky but effervescently happy childhood, bathed in High Politics and pop culture, with dashes of an as yet unevolved sense of the ancient, that I can remember such arcana as the fact that The Duke wore no socks.

But, now that hallmark of our government, the party convention, is going the way of the Dodo, or at least, CSpan, which, in effect, means a significant drop off a) to those who do not have cable, and b) those who are simply not even aware that a CSpan exists, it is not on their narrow media-deprived radar screen:

"'We know we're going to cover the nomination and the [nominee's] speech,' said one network's spokeswoman, but 'we're not sure about the first two days.'

"Previously, networks covered each day of the convention."

That's right; every snooze inducing day, every ambitious backwater Governor's speech, all -- everything in prime time. This will be a momentous sea change, heralding the inevitable day when there is no such thing as a news division anymore, only an entertainment division, which, alas, would push the big stories -- the party conventions -- into the C-Span ghetto, and, in so doing, deprive the next generation of political geeks like me, the child being born now, a solid political education.

"Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and President Bush have already locked up their nominations, so the networks don't feel obliged to cover the four-day windup to their acceptance speeches.

"'They are very tightly choreographed events,' said the spokeswoman. 'There is virtually no news that is made at the conventions any more.'"

No hard news, correct, and tightly choreographed, also yes, but many, many great American moments arise from these conventions: Bill Clinton's longwinded speech at the '88 convention. It was so boring and overdone that when Clinton said, "In conclusion ..." the whole hall erupted in cheers. Who could have fucking predicted that this backwater Machiavel would come back, using the momentum of being a punchline, into the Presidency? Priceless.

Pat Buchanan's fire and brimstone speech, exposing the reptilian underbelly of the paleoconservative America First movement that emerged from the ashes of The Cold War. The speech that sunk the last WWII generation president. John F Kennedy Junior entered public life speaking at the Convention in Atlanta in '88, so young, so fresh faces, and now, alas, forever lost to the us, a possible future President.

"Sources say each networks will likely reduce coverage from four years ago, even though coverage in 2000 already was scaled back from historic levels. Networks could provide as little as an hour of live coverage on the penultimate nights (Wednesdays), with perhaps two hours for the Thursday finale.

"This is a significant challenge for candidates. Kerry must use the convention to define himself before a national audience, presenting his carefully packaged image as a veteran and a leader, and overcome characterizations in Bush's TV ads that he is a flip-flopper, observers say.

"Bush, whose approval ratings dropped to 48 percent in the latest Gallup poll, needs his convention to reestablish his credentials on terrorism, security, and the economy, and counteract any post-convention 'bounce' by Kerry. Harry Truman is the only president to win reelection despite a June approval rating below 50 percent.

"Democrats and Republicans will continue talks with the networks this week and plead for more coverage."

That's kind of sad, the idea of political candidates begging the network heads for coverage. But Geoff is right in looking at the strategic options that this historic event effects. The term "Convention Bounce" is a part of any political scientists working vocabulary, it is considered sine qua non of any effective Presidential election strategy. The loss of gavel to gavel election coverage will undercut the strength of any bounce. Trajectiories must be recalculated, on both sides:

"'We are gathering information, talking to the networks,' said Peggy Wilhide, communications director for the Democratic convention in Boston. 'The final decisions rest with them as to how much they will cover. We?re trying to make it as attractive as possible ...'"

"But Democrats are already turning elsewhere: 'We have done a lot of outreach to non-traditional [media] outside of the traditional big five,' said Wilhide.

"Black Entertainment Television will be broadcasting nightly from Boston's Fleet Center. The Spanish language Univision will have a correspondent there. MTV, Comedy Central and ESPN will also be producing convention shows.

"The cable political network C-SPAN plans gavel-to-gavel coverage from the convention floor, as it has in the past. The Fox News Channel, CNN and MSNBC, and Internet coverage can fill some of the void left by the withdrawing networks. The proliferation of media has given the networks an excuse to scale back coverage, observers add."

Perhaps the era of the dinosaur network is ending, and the politically astute viewer will have to be more nimble with his remote control finger to get the coverage that he or she needs to get the information to make the right choice come Election Day.

"Don Ritchie, associate Senate historian, said: 'The major networks ... make more money when they have comedies and Law and Order on than when they have politics on. That's the sad part of it.'"

Very, very sad indeed.

Spike Lee Likes Strippers

While his pretty but kind of mean-looking wife Tonya is hard at work promoting her new book, The Gotham Diaries, Spike Lee is causing anarchy in the UK, promoting his new movie ... and seeing strippers with a galpal!

According to the 3 AM Girls:

"... The supposedly happily married father of two splashed out hundreds of pounds on dancers. He was accompanied by a woman bearing an uncanny resemblance to his wife Tonya, who we're assured was back home in New York.

"The 47-year-old American maker of hit films such as Do The Right Thing and Malcolm X, who married lawyer Tonya in 1993, turned up at Spearmint Rhino in Tottenham Court Road.

"He had spent the day promoting his forthcoming movie She Hate Me. But rather than unwind by indulging in some of the culture the capital has to offer, he decided he'd have more fun at a strip club.

"His new film, which is due out in the autumn and stars Woody Harrelson and Monica Bellucci, tells the story of a sacked executive who turns to impregnating lesbians to make money.

"The tagline for the film is 'one heterosexual male, 18 lesbians, his fee $10,000 each.'

"We can only assume he was doing a little extra research."

The Corsair takes out his antique opera glasses with the mother of pearl handle and reviews the spectacle.

"Onlookers tell us his friend was so appreciative of the dancers she was warned by security staff for breaking the club's no touching rule and told that if she did it again she would be thrown out.

"An eyewitness tells us: 'Spike and his companion must have spent about ($360) on dances and there were two girls who they seemed to prefer.

"'The girl who was with Spike was particularly interested in a stunning mixed-race girl who looked very similar to her and when the girl was dancing she seemed rivetted."

The Corsair sips the black wine of Cahors, elixir of Popes.

"'Later on she went over to the dancer and it looked like she was going to give her a peck on the cheek and thank her for the dances.

"'But she seemed to slip and as a result it looked like she'd tried to kiss her and ended up smudging the dancer's make-up. They weren't being threatening in any way, they were just having fun. It was weird to see Spike though.

"'I would have thought he'd prefer to indulge in far more cultural pursuits, but you never can tell, can you? I doubt he'll be back in a hurry.'"

"Spike initially tried to deny the story, telling his publicist it was complete 'poppycock' ...

"But later his spokeswoman admitted to us: 'Spike went to the club by himself and he left by himself.

"'That is his only comment on the matter.'"

So, who is this mystery woman who looks like his wife?

A Little of the Old In and Out

In: The blog has this little chestnut:

"That sexy, offbeat couple that hooked up on a cult-y TV show have been joining fellow Angelinos in that favorite weekend sport: hitting open houses. Friends and star-watchers in the know have interpreted this extracurricular behavior as a sign that a sometimes bouncy relationship may be moving toward the settling-down stage, to be followed by the raising of pretty, spoiled, therapy-bound rugrats. But that's definitely not the whole enchilada. These quirky lovebirds are just trying to spice up their relationship--they're such a pair of thrill-junkies, they've become addicted to pulling stunts like having quick sex in out-of-the-way rooms, guest houses and even attics of homes for sale, all the while fearing/hoping they will get busted. And recently, they got their wish. More than a few high-end realtors and home sellers are tricking out their prized properties with security cameras, in hopes of catching thieves and scammers who have been hitting open houses lately. But when our two lovebirds got caught on camera doing some oral gymnastics in an upstairs children�?’s bathroom, they were asked by the real estate agents to vacate the premises pronto. How long before that tape turns up on the web?"

Anyone wanna guess? The board is saying The OC power couple Adam Brody and Rachel Bilson, who, as it happens (The Corsair smiles), have very publicly been shopping for houses. Just how public is what Enquiring minds want to know.

Out: Vice President Hillary? Matt Drudge is so bad on accuracy, so wide of the mark in execution, and so often off in pitch, that he once, rather famously, predicted that Disney was going to buy Apple Computer (The Corsair softly chuckles). And there's no accounting for the scurrilous Kerry intern piece he hustled. Well, now he does himself one better, predicting that Hillary Clinton -- the Senator from a state he already has in the bag -- will be his Veep running mate:

"Official Washington and the entire press corps will be rocked when Hillary Rodham Clinton is picked as Kerry's VP and a massive love fest will begin!

"So predicts a top Washington insider, who spoke to the DRUDGE REPORT on condition he not be named.

"'All the signs point in her direction,' said the insider, one of the most influential and well-placed in the nation's capital. 'It is the solution to every Kerry problem.'

"'There are three issues that this campaign will be decided on-- national security, health care, and the economy, not necessarily in that order.'

"'Kerry believes that no one is better on national security than he is, he served in Vietnam after all, so he has that covered and the suggestion that he needs to strengthen the ticket with someone who has national security credentials is dismissed as foolish.'"

In: NY Post cutie Elisa Lipsky-Karasz's new gossip column iswonderful. Herr most recent column let us know that Paul Burrell, the man P Diddy wants to replace Farnsworth Bentley, Diana's rock, wore an $18,000 diamond earring that shocked the WASPs. And that Karen O is dating Spike Jonze, "meanwhile she's still shacking up with her former boyfriend, rocker Angus Andrew." But the best scoop was this one:

"Al Sharpton's wife, Kathy, was caught hoarding the free shoes from the storage closet at Kimora Lee Simmons' Diva shoe party. 'But I need shoes for my babies!' she told the shocked staff when they accosted her."

Out: Publicists: Do not lie to Page Six, people. They will catch you and make a Fourth of Julybarbecuee out of your lying ass. For the past two days and running the Sixers have been humiliating smarmy, lyingpublicistss; a veritable Bonfire of the Vanities has been going on. Today, Damon Dash's publicist, Amanda Silverman of PMK/HBH got a beating. And yesterday, Barbara Hutson, of the ironically titled p.r. company Truth Be Told Inc., was busted on lying. Just tell the truth when the Sixers come calling.

In: Christian Slater. He's like the newBritanyy Murphy, his antics are so crazy. According to that significant cultural artifact The National Enquirer, Slater visited a, uhm, femme de la nuit:

"... the young woman says at first she didn't recognize the actor when he walked into the London brothel at 3 a.m.

"He was wearing scruffy jeans and a crumpled shirt.

"It was only after the Hollywood hunk picked her out that, she said, a security guy told her who her famous 'john' was. Soon they were in his fourth-floor suite at one of London's fanciest hotels, she claims.

"Right off the bat, Slater told her that he is married to TV producer Ryan Haddon and has two kids, she says.

"'He came across as really nice' said the woman, who may be the world's most starstruck prostitute.

"'I was puzzled when he told me about his family, but I guess he was just being honest. He was very experienced and knew exactly what to do.'"


Out: Naomi Campbell brings out the beast in men (The Corsair howls at the moon). According to British Vogue, things got rather dodgy in the mysterious land of Sardinia:

"NAOMI CAMPBELL had to be rescued by police yesterday when a crowd of about 4,000 men overwhelmed security guards as she filmed her latest ad on a beach in Sardinia. Desperate to catch a glimpse of the British supermodel in her bikini, the crowd ignored the metal barriers which had been erected around the Cala Cipolla beach, near Cagliari, for the filming of a new ad for TIM mobile phone operators. According to Italian news agency Ansa, the sight of a scantily-clad Naomi, carrying a phone and flanked by an enormous black dog, was too much for her Italian fans to ignore."

Cheesecake at Abu Graib?

From the August 2004 issue of Vibe, an cover feature story on The Diddy by Lola Ogunnaike:

"Tucked away in the back seat of his chauffer driven SUV, three days before he makes public his decision to dismantle Bad Boy's Da Band, Diddy launches into a passionate diatribe about work ethic and the group's lack thereof. Borrowing a line from Raisin (In The Sun), he diagnoses Dylan -- the groups resident rebel -- with 'acute ghettoitis'

"'He has a self-destruct button and doesn't take life seriously. So many young men and women don't take life seriously and don't decide to get off the corner until they're around 35, talking about you want to own a record company or open up a store,' says Diddy.'You wanted to spend 10 years hanging on the corner, smoking blunts, sleeping all day, and when it's time to get serious at 35 you wanna look at the other cats that's hustled since they was 16 and be mad at them?'

"Standing tall on his soapbox, an amped Diddy continues. Da Band's initial refusal to walk from Manhattan to Brooklyn to fetch him cheesecake comes to mind. 'If I were them, I would go get cheesecake right now, butt naked with some razor-blade strippers on, sliding through an alcohol pond."

Tell us how you really feel, Diddy.

Happy Birthday Allegra Beck Versace

Composed in Honor of Allegra's (link via Gawker) 18th Birthday, to the tune of 80s wondergroup Toto's hit song Rosanna:

"All I wanna do when I wake up in the morning is see to your cash/
Allegra, Allegra/
I never thought that a girl like you would ever turn 18/

"All I wanna do in the middle of the evening is to hold your cash/
Allegra, Allegra/
I didn't know you were inheriting more than I could ever spend/

"Not quite a year since she turned 18, Allegra, yeah/
No prenup and I have to say/

"Meet you all the way, meet you all the way, Allegra/
Meet you all the way, meet you all the way, Allegra/"

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

48 Hours with Christina Aguilera

"We may affirm absolutely that nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion."

Hegel's Philosophy of History

Odd how reality works it's way out. Simultaneous to Britney's career implosion, Christina Aguilera's career has come into it's own, gently, elegantly, birthed from the titanic struggle between the thesis of "What a Girl Wants," and the antithesis of "I Am Beautiful". Synthesis: the new, fashion darling, XTina, queen of the catwalk, celebrity endorser. Who would have guessed at that turn of events? Aguilera was the less pretty, less popular, more skanky of the two, only three years ago, but, it appears, with the fullness of time, she has won the diva-stakes; now it is Britney allegedly engaged to a man she allegedly stole from a woman who is having his second child.

I wouldn't really be surprised to see XTina on vacation in Corsica, checking out the ruins of Crusader castles. Okay, maybe I'm pushing the elegance thing, but you get the point. Christina Aguilera, according to British Vogue, who just decamped the private jet, mirabile dictu, this morning -- supplied, so generously by Mohamed Al-Fayed -- after receiving a whopping $366,000 for appearing at Harrod's. British Vogue writes:

"... The 23-year-old singer took to the catwalk for DSquared2's spring/summer 2005 show in Milan this morning - the day after opening the Harrod's sale in London. Aguilera first met the label's twins, Dean and Dan Caten, when they designed costumes for her world tour last year. Now she has returned the favour by endorsing their latest collection."

Before attending the DSquared2 event, the 3 AM Girls caught up with XTina at Harrod's:

"The 23-year-old - who looked stunning in a ($5,421) white Carlos Miele dress - arrived to open the sale in a horse-drawn carriage and was a little disturbed by some of the fillies' bodily functions.

"'It's so gross they way they just do that all over the street,' the tiny singer sniggered.

"'I can't believe somebody has to clean that up. Maybe they store it and throw it at people they don't like!'"

The Corsair can almost imagine Amy Poehler doing that impersonation.

"Chrissy recovered from her giggling fit just in time to greet the hundreds of screaming fans that lined the street.

"'It's so cool that they're here,' she said. 'Although the noise isn't helping my head!'

"Despite the 6am start, Christina had spent the previous night partying in London's Rouge bar and, like her favourite showbiz columnists, got in at 3am.

"'It was a great night but I'm paying for it now,' she laughed.

"After flexing her plastic on a deluxe Scrabble set ('I'll take on anyone at Scrabble! I'm the champ!'), five designer bags and seven hats, Chrissy decided the best cure for her aching head was a hair of the dog - and headed for the pet department.

"There, she found a love object to make boyfriend Jordan Bratman, 27, jealous - a bichon frise puppy called Lucy.

"'Don't you think she's gorgeous?' she asked (3AM reporter) Caroline. 'I really want to take her home with me. I'll have to see if they can sort it out.

"'She'll be great company when Jordan's not around. We're not engaged but we are very happy.'

"And while her flunkies tried to arrange a pet passport, Christina - who flew in on one of flamboyant store owner Mohamed Al Fayed's private jets - headed for the lingerie department.

"'I usually only wear Agent Provocateur but the John Galliano collection here is fabulous,' she gushed, before notching up a ($10,837) bill on sexy smalls.

"Looks like Jordan's got a treat in store ..."

The Corsair contemplates the treats ...

" ... Thirty-four bras and matching knickers,"

The Corsair shouts, angrily, "Who you calling a ... oh, you said knickers --oh, hahaha --I thought you said ..."

" ... 12 corsets and 10 suspender belts from John Galliano's collection for Christian Dior - ($10,837)

"Deluxe Scrabble set - ($63)

"Three Jimmy Choo bags - ($2,167)

"Five Philip Treacy hats - ($1,806)

She even stopped to chat with Hello!:

"... the Dirrty singer, who has reinvented herself as a classic screen siren, says we can expect to see more of her sophisticated new persona.

"'I am going to explore the music and art of the 1920s, '30s and '40s which will be an image change,' she said. 'It's that whole world of glamour and stars like Marlene Dietrich and Marilyn Monroe.'

"Once she had greeting the hundreds of fans who turned out to see her, the 23-year-old headed inside to check out the bargains. 'I love a spree,' admitted the chanteuse. 'Shopping is definitely one of my vices.'"

It's a hard knock life ...

A Little of the Old In and Out

In: Paris is buying her own adult tape (link via defamer). How cute. How (The Corsair makes vaguely sarcastic quotation marks in the mid-air) ... how ... "meta."

Out: Scarlett Johansson, the woman who had "relations" on Oscar night with Benicio del Toro at the Chateau Marmont, will take the place of the super sexy full bodied Kate Winslet (The Corsair groans) in the next BBC financed Woody Allen flic, according to Ananova (via Empire):

"Empire says Johansson has added the film - the first Allen film to be shot in London - to an already punishing schedule that includes Mission: Impossible 3, The Black Dahlia and a voiceover in The Spongebob Squarepants Movie.

"Winslet pulled out of the film last week, three weeks before filming was due to begin, saying she needed more time with her family.

"The unnamed film also stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Brian Cox and Emily Mortimer, but details of the plot are not known."

In: Michael Musto's Brilliant Confessions of a Soundbyte Whore (link via Gawker), bound to be torn out and laminated by young, ambitious twenty and thirtysomethings everywhere. A spicy tidbit:

"Don't expect much honesty in live TV, where priorities are constantly shifted and you get constantly shafted. CNBC once booked me to talk about JANET JACKSON's nipple, but they neglected to tell me that I'd be debating a family values harridan who felt her kids were permanently tit-scarred. (At least I got to use my big line five times: 'Can I get a word in edgewise, be-yotch?') Worse, a Geraldo producer said I'd lead off a show, but I actually didn't get on until the very end, at which point I got to say one sentence. (But what a sentence! 'MARTHA STEWART is very . . . ') And MSNBC booked me, but specified that they'd be spending the rest of the day looking for someone better�?I mean more appropriate! Well, I guess that was honest because sure enough, they found that person and offered me a lovely rain check�?as opposed to a lovely paycheck. Moral: There's no dignity in the sideshow."

Out: According to something called The Razz of the Daily Record of the UK, P Diddy -- I kid you not -- is trying to hire Princess Di's manservant Paul Burrell:

"PUFF DADDY is said to be desperate to hire Princess Diana's former assistant, Paul Burrell, as his new aide.

"The hip-hop star's former assistant, Farnsworth Bentley, recently quit to become a rap star and style guru and Puff wants to replace him with Paul.

"The man, who Princess Diana dubbed her 'rock', has already turned the singer down once already but Puff is said to be still determined to hire him."

I couldn't make this shit up if I tried, true believer.

In: Celebrity divorce. Like some cosmic countervailing force against the celebrity knock up fad, Vanessa Williams and Rick Fox broke up. To make things worse, they've got pictures of him cheating (link via defamer). travelingng man alpha male basketball player cheat on his wife? Nooo! Damn, the world wide web is tangled. And though it isn't her fault: Doesn't it always seem as if Vanessa Williams is divorcing and/or marrying someone?

Out: A hott 23 year old teacher and Christina Aguilera look-alike had "relations" with her 14-year old student in the back of an SUV while his 15 year old cousin drove ... and watched, according to the Smokinggun:

"Meet Debra Lafave. The 23-year-old Florida teacher is facing a host of felony charges for allegedly having sex with a 14-year-old male student. According to investigators, Lafave met the boy at Greco Middle School--where she taught reading--and had sex with him in her classroom, Isuzu SUV, and Tampa-area home. A probable cause affidavit prepared by the Marion County Sheriff's Office details Lafave's alleged involvement with the boy, who was interviewed by cops (as was his cousin, who was present for two of the auto encounters). According to the affidavit--portions of which were redacted by investigators--Lafave told the boy that she was "turned on by the fact that having sexual relations with him was not allowed." Since the incidents occurred in different jurisdictions, Lafave has been named in two separate criminal complaints. As such, she has posed for two booking photos: the below left mug shot was snapped at the Marion County lockup, while the picture at right was taken by Hillsborough County sheriff's deputies."

The Corsair would like to say something devilishly witty here, but he will refrain.

In: To paraphrase Billy Idol, it's a nice day for a white (trash) wedding. The guys at the blog cater the impending nuptials of Britney and Kevin Federline. So brilliant.

A Night At The Bijou

How about that Bijou Phillips. It's like 1995 again and Bijou is on a rampage. A rampage, my friend. Methinks that when Papa Phillips named his cute offspring Bijou, he never foresaw the shenanigans that plague LA today. According to Page Six, Playboy Playmate Nicole Lenz has filed a $1 million lawsuit against Bijou and Johnson and Johnson heiress Casey Johnson. But, as you can imagine, most of the rough and tumble comes from the very punchy Bijou, with a very special guest cameo by Matthew Perry of Friends:

"As PAGE SIX first reported, Lenz obtained a restraining order against Phillips and Johnson after they confronted her at L.A. club XES on June 6, where Phillips attacked Lenz, punching her and dragging her 'across the room' by her ponytail, according to the suit. Lenz claims the actress was eventually pulled off her by Matthew Perry of 'Friends' and thrown out by security.

"The next afternoon, Lenz says she was again menaced by Phillips when they ran into each other at a charity event in Pacific Palisades. 'Shortly after plaintiff arrived, Phillips proceeded to yell obscenities at her and loudly called plaintiff a whore, a prostitute, a thief and other derogatory terms,' according to the suit.

"The suit also claims that the Los Angeles Police Department, after searching Lenz's apartment and interviewing her 'several times,' does not consider her a suspect in the alleged burglary of Johnson's jewelry.

"The accusations that Lenz stole Johnson's jewels have 'greatly damaged her present and future earning potential as a professional model and actress,' the suit says.

"Attached to the court filing is a PAGE SIX item detailing Phillips' history of violent behavior, including cutting off the tip of a friend's finger with a cigar cutter, stabbing another friend in the leg and slamming a socialite to the ground at a nightclub."

About that cigar-finger incident, Bijou was interviewed for Index Magazine by Bruce LaBruce:

"BRUCE: Celebrity Sleuth once mentioned an urban myth about you cutting off some guy's little finger in a cigar cutter?

"BIJOU: Look, some jerk was coming on to me all night, grabbing my ass while I was dancing with my friends.

"BRUCE: Where was it?

"BIJOU: At Spy. We were all smoking cigars, and there was a cigar cutter. I dared my friends to put their fingers in it, and they're like, 'Yeah, Bijou. Whatever. Go away.' And then I saw that jerk who was bothering me, and I thought, 'Oh, that guy, he'll do it.' So I said, 'I dare you to stick your finger in there.' And he goes, 'Well what does it do?' I mean, if he's dumb enough to stick his finger in the fucking cigar cutter in the first place, then he deserves a little nick. I gave him a little nick and that was it.

"BRUCE: And there was blood, no doubt.

"BIJOU: He was bleeding for a minute, he grabbed some napkins and wrapped them around his finger. Then he came over and asked for my phone number. He said I owed him dinner.

"BRUCE: So how does that turn into an urban legend?

"BIJOU: Because a lot of people were there that night, like Leo and all those guys saw it. Everyone was like, 'She cut the fuckin' finger off, man, the finger was on the floor, she picked it up, it was horrible. I don't know, dude, she's fuckin' nuts. Fuckin' nuts.'

"BRUCE: [laughing] That makes a better story than if you'd actually done it.

"BIJOU: I was so young. I'd grown up with a family that was just a bunch of fucking junkies so I didn't have any manners or life skills."

Manners and life skills are so important when you're dragging a Playboy Playmate by her ponytail across the room at EXS.

Mary Kate: Not Anorexia ... (Sotto Voce) "Rehab"

Gawker first reported last week that Mary Kate Olsen may not be in a clinic for anorexia, and now, I suppose, with the revelations of Star, it is official: Mary Kate Olsen is in rehab:

"Star magazine reveals that Mary-Kate Olsen- who along with twin sister Ashley, form a multi-millionaire power duo-is being treated for a cocaine addiction in an exclusive facility in Utah.

"Mary-Kate is currently residing at the exclusive Cirque Lodge in Utah, which is known for its scenic mountain views and a new-age, intensive-therapy approach to treating drug addiction. She was checked in by her father Dave Olsen on June 11, and spent her 18th birthday there by herself on June 13.

"The recommended 30-day program costs $29,850, and patients are free to come and go as they please, if their counselor agrees to give them a pass.

"The facility's website says it treats eating disorders in addition to drug and alcohol addictions. As it's been widely reported, Mary-Kate is also battling anorexia."

When are we going to just outlaw child stars? In The Corsair's perfect world, no on under the age of, say 15 would be allowed to become a professional actor, and if a director needed to cast a child he would have to use his own kid, or make a case to a court for why the child is needed and how he/she would look out for their welfare. Exposing kids to Hollywood ... it's just wrong. Okay, The Corsair is not going to moralize any longer. (The Corsair takes a deep breath of fresh air) Just needed to get that out.
Donna Brazile on LA Justice and The Secret Service

In the June/July 2004 Index Magazine:

"Elana Berkowitz: Even as Al Gore's campaign manager, you experienced incidents of discrimination?

Donna Brazile: On the campaign trail every staff person was given an identification pin to wear. But instead of looking at my pin, the Secret Service men tended to look at my black skin and say, 'Where are you going?' I'm like, 'Uh ... I work for Al gore.' One time in particular, when we were in Los Angeles for a big televised Presidential debate, I arrived at Al Gore's hotel from Washington State just as he was leaving for rehearsal. I knew that the elevator would be filled up, so I thought I'd just go down the stairs. Little did I know that the Secret Service and the Los Angeles police were in the stairwell trying to secure the building. Girl, they drew guns on me and threw them in my face. My pin, my ID, nothing worked. I'm sure it was my black skin, because every other credential said who I was. They finally released me once Gore had left the building. That was probably one of the only times aside from November 7, 2000 that I cried."

Diana: In Pursuit of Love

Hello! Magazine excepts from the new book Diana: In Search of Love, and it gives us some really amazing inside scoop:

"It seems that for a time, the Queen (of England) took to singing hymns unaccompanied after dinner was over. The Princess (Di) did not know whether to sing along, start clapping or remain silent."


"The Princess, at Balmoral (Castle) rummaged through her husband's briefcase and came across a cache of letters. In doing this she exposed herself to the cold and conclusive realization -- that another woman was in love with her husband, and that love was clearly returned."

The Corsair slowly deposits himself into his favorite plush chair, sips at a glass of aged champagne and continues:

"The letters -- and a couple of saucy postcards -- which (the author) was shown were from Camilla Parker Bowles. As Diana read the passionate letters it was quite evident to her that Camilla, who called Charles 'My most precious darling,' was a woman whose love remained undimmed in spite of the passage of time.

"The tone of the letters was adoring. I recall the lengths to which Camilla went to contact Charles, on one occasion writing to him while secreted in the lavaratory on the Queen Mother's 91st birthday. 'I just hate not being able to tell you how much I love you,' she wrote.

"The notes, on headed writing paper, continued, saying how much she longed to be with him and she was his forever. (The author) particularly remembers one vivid passage that read: 'My heart and my body both ache for you.'

"She apologized for breaking into gibberish during a secret phone call with prince Charles, blaming her husband in a memorable turn of phrase: 'the erstwhile silver stick appeared through the door looking like a furious stoat -- pity they did not stuff him.' It was a sentence that struck on (the author's) mind because Brigadier Parker Bowles had once held the ceremonial post of 'silver stick in waiting' to the Queen.

"I recall she went on to proclaim her undying affection for Prince Charles with phrases like 'I yearn to be with you night and day, to hug, comfort and love you.' She reminisced about a 'magical night' at a friend's country house. 'I dread the acting part,' she wrote, referring to a forthcoming lunch when she, husband in tow, was to join Prince Charles.

"As Diana absorbed the depth of her rivals love she was also able to see the extent of the duplicity that her husband and her lover connived in. Camilla carefully outlined dates and places where she was available to see him. It must have been horrible for Diana to realize that the venues where Mrs. Parker Bowles might meet Charles included the homes of people she called her friends.

"Just as shocking to Diana must have been the letter which referred personally to her. Camilla advised Charles to erase any thoughts of guilt about their relationship from his mind and rise above what she termed 'the onslaughts of that ridiculous creature' -- clearly a reference to Diana"

Hello! Magazine

Monday, June 28, 2004

On Topic A With Arianna Huffington and the Adorable Theo Spielberg

Henry the Intern, as usual, puts us to shame with his trenchant analysis of Topic A. Check him out, if you haven't already. The Corsair would like to amplify on a comment Our Hendry made:

"(Theo) Spielberg, 15 (the adorable son of Steven Spielberg), was the representative for the youth vote. Is CNBC going for the Nickelodeon crowd? Anyone --intern Chris Schwarz!-- would have been better. Spielberg said he wants politicians to have charisma so young people know 'who and what they are voting for.' Franken had advice for kids like Theo: 'Grow up. . . You're not necessarily going to vote for someone who is the most charismatic.' Theo's other point was candidates should pick a few issues important to young voters and act 'very supportingly.' Franken: 'Such as?' Theo suggested the war, the draft, Social Security, and Medicare. Franken won with his eyes closed."

Yeah, yeah, yeah: Franken won the exchange, but how could he have not? Al Franken was probably debating politics ferociously as a hypocritical Harvard liberal while the adorable Theo was being born. And while Theo Spielberg was eating strained carrots and peas, Franken was writing for Saturday Night Live, being an ass as to all accounts, and making enemies.

After Theo Spielberg made the comment that kids would be supporting of candidates who were charismatic (i.e. passionate) about Social Security and Medicare, Franken, rather creepily, rhetorically cornered Theo, archly asking something to the effect of -- so, kids your age care about Social Security and Medicare? To which the confident with a confidence of being a super rich and bright kid on the top of the Hollywood food chain, Theo countered, saying basically, well, not now, they don't, but if kids think in terms of their future and not on immediate goals, then yes, they might care.

Good going Theo, The Corsair loves you, baby pop.

What is it with Al Franken? What makes him such a dick? The Corsair might venture to say it was Harvard, but fellow prick Eric Alterman went to Cornell. Rather, The Corsair thinks that it may be wrestling. Amateur wrestling, at a formative period in a young pubescent boys life, tends to make them assholes, quick to start argument, combative when they need not be (for further consideration, see punk Defense Secretary/ rassler Donald Rumsfeld and prick author/ wrestler John Irving).

A recent New York Times magazine profile sums it up, at the height of the Democratic primaries:

"Onstage, Martin Sheen speaks first, then Dean's demure wife, then the suddenly embattled former governor of Vermont himself. Sometime after Dean begins taking questions from the audience, a manic-looking heckler starts to heckle, accusing Dean of 'covering up for Dick Cheney.' He gets louder. A couple of spindly members of Dean's security team approach him uncertainly; he swings his arms and keeps shouting. It goes on for several minutes and seems to be veering toward actual violence. Dean, the media, the members of the audience: nobody knows what to do."

Oh, but our man Franken does, does he ever (wicked Rumsfeldian gleam in eyes):

"At this moment Franken turns, cocks his head slightly, gives that well-known magnified, tortoise-shell-framed gaze and says: 'I think the two of us can get him out. You wanna do it?' After a pause that is meant to be emphatic, I say, 'No.' But it's too late: he's off, in rumpled jeans and a big down jacket, plowing up the aisle."

Al Franken's old school like that. When he cocked his head you just knew: it was on like Gray Poupon. The Corsair imagines the Harvard educated simian, rumpled jeans and big brown jacket ruffling in the wind, the accoustical sounds of Six Million Dollar Man bionic sound effects stacattoing in the background (da-da-da-da-da ...) as Franken-in-slow-motion-bolt approaches said interrupter, head low and spectacles fogged in anticipation of crunk:

"By this time there is a confused scrum around the heckler, who is holding his ground and still ranting. Franken hits the floor, wedges himself among a couple dozen legs and puts the man in a wrestling hold, grabbing him at the knees."

Oof! One can almost buckle at the beauty of the writing at this New York Times sports section style commentary, like that unfortunate freak, tumbling down the slippery slope into Prose Heaven. Oh, tell us more:

"That destabilizes him, and others now quickly push him down the aisle and out the side door of the theater."

Oh Al, destabilize the GOP; destabilize!:

"Franken gets up, looking dazed; his glasses are snapped in two. He's quickly swarmed by confused but excited reporters who want to know, like, what was he doing?"

Blame it on Wrestling; Theo Spielberg rocks. Kate Capshaw and Stevie Hollywood did a good job instilling confidence in their adopted son, enough to hold their ground with fatuous dicks like Al Franken, who cannot seem to distinguish between combating Rush Limbaugh, and chatting with a 15 year old on his first Tv appearance.

Blame it on amateur wrestling.

A Little of the Old In and Out

In: The Great Michael Gross. Our pal, swell guy Michael Gross is, according to British Vogue, on top of the world:

"MADONNA is reportedly casting a group of models to play the likes of Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford and Christy Turlington in a tell-all film about the supermodel world. The American superstar, who is now going by a new Kabbalah-inspired name of Esther, has bought the film rights to Michael Gross' book, Model. David Brendel has written the screenplay for the film, which is due to hit screens sometime next year and will, according to, star several of the famous named models themselves."

Congratulations, Michael, if anyone deserves success of this magnitude, it's you.

BREAKING: Madonna, according to fashionweekdaily, re Esther:

"... Though the bag is just now hitting stores, Madonna was already seen toting her one-of-a-kind envelope-shaped shoulder bag to Demi Moore�s Kabbalah soir�e. Made of refined python and crocodile skin, the bag (which doubles as a clutch) comes complete with Swarovski crystals mounted on a grosgrain base and features the designer�s signature robot charm and leather key chain on the detachable handle. Jet appliqu�s, quirky accessory clips, and a novel steel clasp finish off the detailing."


Out: Naming your baby ESPN (pronounced ES-Pen), (link via the very cool Whatevs):

" A Texas couple who named their son ESPN � after the cable sports network � is getting more than a bundle of joy for their decision.
Little 2-year-old ESPN Malachi McCall of Pampa, Texas, is getting his own TV special.

"Turns out he is not the only child with the unique name.

"ESPN ... McCall is one of at least three youngsters in the U.S. known to be named for the sports network. A couple in Corpus Christi named their son Espn Curiel in 2000, the same year Espen Blondeel was born in Michigan.

"And ESPN is taping a special about the kids."

To paraphrase totalitarian-dictator coddling Cindy Adams, "Only in Texas, Kiddies, only in Texas ..."

In: Nicole Kidman. According to the UK's Daily Star (link via Ananova):

"Oscar-winner Nicole Kidman has been offered a ($109 million) blockbuster film deal.

The seven-film contract with Disney to make the Chronicles of Narnia would shoot the actress to the top of Hollywood's highest-paid list.

"And Nicole does not even need to appear on screen to earn the cash.

"Only her voice is needed for the part of the White Witch in the films.

"But a source said: 'Nicole will have to decide whether ($109 million) is worth her while.

"'Knowing you are committed to work on seven films is a tough one.'

Caveat emptor: The Daily Star is the only media vehicle reporting this as of 11 am Monday, so, you know, like: take this as you will. It sounds like an impossible amount, though; but I'm blowing this your way to get some conversation going.

Out: Michiko Kakutani. Kakutani gets the gas face from Vanity Fair scribe James Wolcott on Howard Kurtz's Reliable Sources on CNN:

"KURTZ: Let me just take a moment to explain what we're talking about, a front page 'New York Times' book review by the chief book reviewer of 'The New York Times.' They've since run a second review by -- that was more favorable.

"WOLCOTT: By a real writer, by the way.

"KURTZ: Well, all right. I don't want to berate her right now."

Ka-Pow! Score: Wolcott: 1; Kakutani: Zero.

In: Matt Klam. According to a post he left on TMFTML, he's "writing a story for the NY Times Mag on bloggers." The Corsair salivates. My kingdom for a mention; some New York Times magazine love would be so sweet.

Out: Denise Richards, the 33-year old wife of Heidi Fleiss' top "John," Charlie Sheen, recent mother of Sam, future Playboy model? According to that significant cultural artifact The National Enquirer:

"RED-HOT mama Denise Richards is preparing to bare all for Playboy, only three months after giving birth -- and her hubby Charlie Sheen couldn't be more proud!"

The Corsair cringes, then calculates, coldly, the 12-year gap before little Sam's classmates start picking on her big time.

"'Denise is thrilled that Playboy approached her to model in the magazine so soon after she became a mom,' said an insider. 'She thinks it's an incredible honor.'

The Corsair groans for little Sam.

"And she said that Charlie isn't at all jealous."

The Corsair groans again.

" ... In fact, he's really proud of her and happy that she wants to show off her beautiful body to other men.'

The Corsair is really, really groaning now.

" ... But Denise, who has starred on TV's 'Spin City' and in movies, is nervous about losing her baby fat in time for the photo shoot, say pals. She's hoping to be in Playboy's December issue and the photos have to be completed several months in advance.

"'Right now she's dieting and exercising like crazy so that she'll look her best for the camera,' said the insider. 'She's working with a personal trainer and following her own diet.

"'Already she looks in tip-top shape. But that's not good enough for Denise. She wants to be absolutely perfect when she strips in front of the world.'"

In: Ingrid Sischy. She's all over the place today. On, she is, "SEEN: Catherine Zeta-Jones, looking incredibly svelte in a Versace black halter dress, sitting front row next to Interview�s Ingrid Sischy." And, as if that is not enough of a media spotting, in Lloyd Grove's Lowdown, "Publicity magnet Abigail Vona, the 19-year-old author of the just-published memoir 'Bad Girl: Confessions of a Teenage Delinquent,' managed to surprise even seen-it-all Interview mag editor Ingrid Sischy when she showed up for a photo session in SoHo with a pair of handcuffs."

Out: According to the AP, apes at the zoo, there for our leisure, will be able to let off some steam on us, their captors:

"The apes at Lincoln Park Zoo are finally getting a chance to take their revenge on people who for years have been pounding their palms against the glass walls of the primates' old home.

"At the zoo's new Regenstein Center for African Apes, chimpanzees can touch a panel hidden from public view that will shoot harmless bursts of air at unsuspecting visitors.

"'You often hear about chimps spitting or throwing,' said Steve Ross, a behaviorist at the zoo. 'They do that to get a rise out of the public. This gives them that opportunity but in a safe way.'"

Why can't we just watch them on tv? Why do we need to restrict their passage?

In: Bill Clinton. According to New York Magazine's Intelligencer:

"Bill Clinton was nominally exiled from lucrative speaking engagements at U.S. investment banks following his pardon of billionaire fugitive Marc Rich. (According to Senate filings for the years 2001 to 2003, Warburg Pincus was Clinton�s only paid speaking engagement to a U.S. investment firm of 139 speeches reported.) But the exile has ended. Clinton�s speech on June 2 at the Sanford C. Bernstein Strategic Decisions conference at the Waldorf-Astoria is the first real indication that Wall Street firms are once again embracing him. Back in February 2001, Morgan Stanley apologized to clients for paying $125,000 for Clinton�s first postpresidential speech."

Diane Keaton Gets Arts Award; The End Is Nigh

According to the AP:

"Because of her dedication to Western art, actress Diane Keaton has been awarded the Utah Governor's Award for Devotion to the Arts.

"After being praised for her dedication to Western art by Gov. Olene Walker, Keaton demurred, saying, 'I don't know who you're talking about, but it's not me � but I am very honored to be here.'"

A Utah Arts Award? Okay, now I get it.

Still, off the top of my head, Susan Sontag, BB King, Gore Vidal, John Simon, Robert Redford and Bob Dylan are all far, far more deserving of that award. For fucks sake: Tagger De La Vega is more deserving of an arts award than Keaton.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Julia Roberts: Cunt; Natalie Portman: 'Lil Cunt

From an interview in the July 2004 Interview Magazine between Peter Sarsgaard and Natalie Portman:

Peter Sarsgaard: Your character's (in Closer) deliciously foul mouth is ... memorable. (Portman laughs)

Natalie Portman: Very true. Julia Roberts plays the role of Anna, and we were laughing about the dirty words we have to say. You blush at first, and then you get pretty liberal with them.

Peter: There's nothing more fun than watching someone who's not quite comfortable with it really landing a well placed "fuck."

Natalie: Yeah, at the start of shooting I gave Julia a necklace that said 'Cunt' on it (laughs), then as a wrap gift she gave me one that said 'Lil Cunt.'"

Carly Simon: Nobody Does it Better

Interview Magazine July 2004. An interview between Michael Kors and the always elegant Carly Simon, who I am now totally in love with:

"Carly Simon: You know, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997 I realized I had spent too long arranging my attitude. I had a mastectomy in 1998, and then chemo. And throughout the whole process I felt much worse. So I spent the next year really depressed, coming to terms with the whole thing. My oncologist said, 'Don't speak about it for a while. Get yourself together and decide what you really want to do.' Here, I'll show you this (shows mastectomy scar) Did you see?

"Michael Kors: Uh-huh. Yeah.

"Carly: My scar is beautiful. It looks like an arrow. I didn't bother rubbing things into it or having any silicone injections. I just keep it that way because I liked it.

"Kors: You know, I was at the meeting yesterday for the CFDA. It's the 10th Anniversary of 'Fashion Targets Breast Cancer' and we were talking about what we we're doing to commemorate it. Kenneth Cole said, 'I want to talk to Carly Simon. I don't know what we can do together, but it would be so meaningful. It's personal for her.'

"Carly: You know, people want to honor me, and on the one hand, I don't want to be a poster child; but on the other I want to do something classy and great -- something where the residuals would go to the cause. I thought of having a designer make a beautiful dress with cut outs here (points to scar) and doing a picture of me wearing it. I just want to show off my scar proudly and not be afraid of it. A really strong woman accepts the war she went through and is ennobled by her scars."

Rosario Dawson: "I'm Attracted to Celebrities"

WYWS Magazine did an interview with the kind of creepy looking African-American skateboarder Harold Hunter.

Harold Hunter, the C-List skateboarder who hangs out at the Astor Place Cube once dated the reptilian Rosario Dawson. But, as he will soon relate in agonizing detail to an unknown skateboarding magazine, things went terribly awry. Terribly. Awry. Oh yeah, that, and Leonardo DiCaprio is girlfriend-stealing puppy boy:

Harold Hunter: "(Rosario Dawson) and I were going out and, like,she was attracted to actors and stuff like that. I remember one time, I went to a party and stuff like that, and I saw David Blaine sitting with Leonardo DiCaprio, and David was like, 'Yo, you know Leonardo's in love with Rosario Dawson.' I was like 'Yeah,' and I was like, 'Damn! He's gonna try and take my girl away, I know that.'"

The Corsair groans, knowing what is going to happen next.

"So we're all sitting together, drinking. So they were looking at each other and Rosario's looking at (Leonardo). And I was like 'damn, man I know somethings gonna happen.' So Rosario got up and had to use the bathroom. I was talking to David Blaine, we were drinking, you know talking. Then Leo gets up and walks away. And Rosario's gone for a long, long time."

The Corsair winces in pain for Harold.

"I was like 'Damn, where is this girl.' So I get up and go downstairs and she's making out with Leonardo DiCaprio."

"And that hurt my feelings, but I said, 'You know what, that's alright.

The Corsair chuckles softly, quietly mouths the words "bitch," and points at Harold, who, most definitely, is exhibiting more than a touch of the bitch.

"... In my head I said that, because if Michelle Pfeiffer were around I would kiss her too. At the end of the day, Rosario and I walked home, and she tried to kiss me and I was like 'I don't want your leftovers.' She said, 'Why?' I said 'I saw you kissing Leonardo.' ... She told me the truth, she said, 'I'm attracted to celebrities.'"
A Little of the Old In and Out

In: Mick Rock of's extended meditation on Debbie Harry, the woman we all wanted to fuck back in the day, is brilliant:

"Ignoring him I asked the lot of them, 'If you had a chance to bed down with Debbie Harry tonight would you? Not really knowing what she looks like these days, just going off the memory that's burned into your head, would you sleep with her?' You'd think we were a car full of choirboys and not skateboarders the way we sung the word, 'Yes,' in unison. Then we saw her. The curtain opened, the house lights found her and had the band not already begun playing then the entire audience would have heard the sounds of our hearts breaking. She was old. She was no longer the girl we'd fallen in love with. Her skin hung lose on her face and arms like a perfectly cooked spare rib, her mini skirt was far too short for anyone her age and the worst of it? She had panty lines! Panty lines are sexy only with sweatpants or business casual. But these weren't cute, ass-defining panty lines. She was wearing big granny panties. I wanted to cry for her. Is there anything grosser than grandma panties? I wanted to rush the stage, rip them off her, use them as a sail and sail off to some faraway land where I would never have to think of the horror I saw that night. But it was too late, the damage had been done."

Out: Gary Oldman. According to Hello! Magazine, he is planning on starring in the next Star Wars film, that is, of course, if anyone actually still cares about that franchise after what George Lucas has done with it:

"British actor Gary Oldman is set to carry on from his success as Harry Potter bad guy Sirius Black by taking on his most villainous role to date. The London-born star will be appearing in the new Star Wars film in the spine-chilling part of General Grievous.

"The fearsome character is described as the deadliest evildoer the series has ever seen. And Gary's fellow-Brit Ewan McGregor, who plays Jedi master Obi-Wan Kenobi, will have his work cut out when he comes face-to-face with the wicked warrior.

"'He's part alien and part robot,' revealed producer Rick McCallum. 'Grievous is a master strategist and the greatest hand-to-hand Jedi killer the galaxy has ever known.'"

No, George Lucas is the hands down greatest Jedi Killer thr galaxy has ever known.

In: Speaking about things sci-fi and "fantasy":Does Mary Jane hate Spidey? Say it aint so! According to the blog:

"It's amazing that everyone missed one of the juiciest nuggets behind the scenes of Spider-Man 2--that Kirsten Dunst and Tobey Maguire barely spoke to each other when off camera. Studio insiders told me that the bad blood between them began during the filming of the first Spider-Man, because Maguire didn't treat Dunst very nicely. Then, when Maguire was having his oft-reported back and salary problems, Dunst lobbied hard to have him recast with her real-life main squeeze, Jake Gyllenhaal. Maybe what's needed for Spider-Man 3 is a therapist for on-camera couples."

Out: Can you believe that an actress of the calibre of Kate Winslet would drop out of a Woody Allen production? Woody is the arty god of Hollywood, too smart to be mainstream, and too creepy to be Indie. Not only did Winslet commit the grave social felony of dropping out of a Woody Allen film, but a BBC funded Woody Allen flic at that, his first British movie. According to the Big News Network:

"British actress Kate Winslet has pulled out of Woody Allen's new film because it would leave her too little time for her young family.

"Winslett, married to director Sam Mendes, was due to co-star with Brian Cox, Emily Mortimer and Jonathan Rhys Meyers in the unnamed film, which will be the first Allen film to be shot entirely in Britain.

"However, after realizing publicity duties for the Johnny Depp-starring film Neverland plus Mendes' own work on Gulf War drama Jarheads would have kept her and her family apart all summer, Winslet withdrew from the film."

An actress pulling out of a prestige flic for family? What the f-c#!

In: Bill Clinton. That significant cultural artifact reports that Bill is tomcatting again. As if this is a surprie to anyone. Can't we all just all accept that he has a non-traditional arrangement with his wife and move on? Of course, if Bill Clinton has any more encounters with heads of state or Hollywood starlets, I'll be the first one to report it. I just won't moralize or playa hate.

Out: Zell Miller, According to the AP:

"Georgia Sen. Zell Miller, the highest profile Democrat to endorse President Bush for re-election, will speak at the Republican National Convention later this summer, a congressional aide said Friday.

"According to the aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Miller will give his address on Wednesday night of the convention in New York. The Bush-Cheney campaign was expected to make an official announcement later in the day. The convention will be held Aug. 30-Sept. 2."

This just may be a minor plus for possible Veepstakes hopeful Max Cleland, also from Georgia.

In: King Alfred the Great. I've been reading Asser's Life of King Alfred, don't ask me why -- I get eclectic in the summer's -- and he was a fascinating character. A proto anti-Machiavelli who operated in the sphere of political action but was personally governed by a deep religious idealism, he united Britain (The Angles and the Saxons), and drove off the barbarian Viking hordes who terrorized Europe. All British Kings, I believe, derive their authority from Alfred. Just reading this fascinating account by Alfred's tutor, Asser, gives me a richer understanding of Shakespeare and Byrd, the pomp and circumstance they have regarding the lineage of Kings (it is not that studied and fussed about in Uganda), by their genesis in King Alfred's struggle. I must be getting old, though, because I've been reading histories all month, which is something I told myself I'd never do. First Thucydides now this. And yes, people, when I am not trolling the gossip sites, drinking Cutty Sark at the local pub, ogling the ladies, or working at my various projects and schemes, I actually read The Great Books. Slowly, too, taking a dozen pages in at a time and wrestling with their meaning. Imagine that.

Out: Slavery is over, but apparently it's okay to sell a lecherous Frenchman online (link via TMLTMF). Oh yeah, and does anyone know how to get DVD's of the original Degrassi Junior High TV Show, that and the PBS hit series High Feather?

Friday, June 25, 2004

A Little of the Old In and Out

In: Rick James. From an interview with Jamie Foxx in the July 2004 issue of Stuff Magazine:

"Rick James lives right down the street from me. He came to my house, he braught these girls with him, and he broke my bed. He was like, 'Yeah, Jamie, watch this!' He jumped on my bed and broke it. I'm such a fan of Rick James that I was just like, 'I don't care, man. Break the shit out of that mothafucka!' Rick James is hysterical. He gived you a window of when Hollywood was really Hollywood, the 70s shit, sex, drugs and rock and roll."

Out: TheSmokinggun came up with some really twisted freaky stuff today. Very disturbing, very David Lynch:

"While seated on the bench, an Oklahoma judge used a male enhancement pump, shaved and oiled his nether region, and pleasured himself, state officials charged yesterday in a petition to remove the jurist. According to the below complaint filed by the Oklahoma Attorney General, Donald D. Thompson, 57, was caught in the act by a clerk, trial witnesses, and his longtime court reporter (these unsettling first-hand accounts will make you wonder what's going on under other black robes)."

Read the whole filthy little document here and then take a cool Visine eyebath.

In: Zulkey interviews Slim Goodbody, AKA John Burstein, a figure of androgynous happy fun joy from my childhood:

Zulkey: What did you do pre-Slim?

Slim: I did some acting in NY � way off- Broadway. I studied dance in Belgium, and dramatic literature at University.

"Zulkey: Has the bodysuit evolved over the years?

"Slim: Yes, I�ve had about a dozen or so. The painting gets better. I�ve added things like the diaphragm and changed the background colors a bit.

"Zulkey: What do you do to stay slim for the bodysuit?

"Slim: Swim, do aerobics, ride a bike, lift weights and eat right. I try to work out regularly."

Out: I'm thoroughly enjoying Clinton's My Life, but, after reading the Larry McMurtry New York Times blow job, I'm not quite sure we are reading the same book, like when he says, lost in love:

"Had Clinton become our Balzac, working all night at his office up in Harlem, with haggard gofers bringing in pizza, Chinese, ribs, whatever the Midnight Scribbler wanted? Could there even be a copy boy, making his last appearance in history, waiting to rush these pages down the street to Knopf?

"One of the appealing things about Bill Clinton, at least to literary types like me, is that he frequently reminds me of authors or their characters - for instance, there's Thomas Wolfe, the big ghost from the other side of the South. Bill Clinton looks homeward often, to laud his angel mother, Virginia Kelley. But why stop there? You can have Clinton as Gulliver, pricked by the Boss Lilliputian, Kenneth Starr; you can have him as Tom Jones, eternally seeking his Dad; you can have him as L'il Abner, wooing his Daisy Mae in the unlikely purlieu of Yale Law School; though to his gnatlike cloud of enemies he will always mainly be the Artful Dodger, the man they're convinced is getting away with something, even if, as is often the case, they can't figure out what."

Clinton's bio, as I read it -- and I'm about 300 pages in -- is a new kind of bio, a Boomer bio of an American President. This is an extraordinary happening. Clinton tells us things that no President could ever imagine telling us because of the generation out of which he has emerged, and because of the remarkable times where we live, now, as the unchallenged global superpower (Muslim Fundamentalists be damned!). This new phenomenon is, alas, not broached by McMurtry in his review, as he is so caught up in the act of performing what essentially amounts to a sloppy literary blow job. It doesn't work. And we, the readers of the review, are so much the poorer for not having that topic adressed.

In:'s special Learning Annex correspondent (Is that Our "Hendry" the Intern, again?) covers Damon Dash's lecture. I've always wondered about the internal politics of these things. I mean, how does it work? What manner of man would attend something so obviously silly and self promotional as a Learning Annex lecture by some artless pseudo-celebrity?

Apparently, the people willing to shell out the $50 are trying to slip the celebrity a resume in the process, or at least plead their case. Sounds yucky, tricking a celebrity to get some quick cash only to spring the musk of Young Manhattan Ambition on them. Not just Young Manhattan Ambition, but Young Manhattan Ambition that does not know the proper protocol for applying for a job, or getting that demo listened to. But then, in a way, The Learning Annex doesn't say -- now is not the time to pitch your tv show to Regis, he just wants to make some quick pocket change and not be accosted. No, the folks at The Learning Annex never say that ... it might cut into their bottom line.

Anyhoo: As you can imagine, Damon Dash, a thug-entrepeneur, who tells us during the course of the report that he wears the "iciest" watches, wasn't having any of this impromtu social advancement rally:

"Somewhere around this point there was a near-complete breakdown in order, owing almost entirely to the Learning Annex's poor planning. The microphone was being handled by a meek, small girl and she was taking questions, which virtually everyone had, in no discernible order. Finally, one guy started yelling, 'Can we just put a microphone in the middle and we line up because I don't even know how she's picking?'

"The crowd went crazy. There was total chaos for a few minutes and somehow out of it all this really big guy, who said he was a rapper named Solomon, got the microphone, telling the guy who had just freaked out, 'She ain't dissin' you homey. If you'd listened to what the man said. You would've just taken it for yourself,' to a general sarcastic rumble from the house.

"His 'question': 'I just want to let you know that there's one person here who understands you.'"

Never underestimate the creative character of Young Manhattan Ambition, in fact, The Corsair is planning on bottling a batch and selling it over eBay ... or something.

Out: I see white people! The United States Senate dress like plantation owners. Ought the Congressional Black Caucus to break into a spirited impromptu rendition of "My Mammy"?

Kidding. (The Corsair flashes a devilish smile)

In: According to A Fly On The Wall, "Steven Spielberg's Dreamworks studio has begun developing a movie thriller about a Washingtonienne-like character who becomes ensnared in a coverup and CIA-sanctioned assassination of a critical congressman, according to several screenwriters approached to pen the script.

"Unless you've been spending all your time buying tchotchkes on eBay, you probably followed the online adventures of the pseudonymous Capitol Hill hottie named Washingtonienne who blogged about her various sexual escapades involving bigwigs inside the Beltway.

"Spielberg's studio began developing the project after learning about the real Washingtonienne's very public expose and subsequent firing a few weeks ago.

In the Dreamworks film version, a Capitol Hill nymphette blogs anonymously about her Congressional sexcapades. When she annoys one too many powerbrokers, however, rogue CIA operatives frame her for a whistleblowing congressman's murder, and she must go on the run while simultaneously trying to prove her innocence and expose the real killers. "The movie will have a Enemy of the State sort of frantic pace and intensity," according to a Dreamworks internal development memo."

Crazy. Read more here.

Out: According to Wonkette, and we don't ever doubt her, "Chicago news outlets are reporting that Jack "Swing State" Ryan is dropping out of the race, leaving the field open for his hotter, less plagued by monumentally bad judgment competitor."

My Favorite 70s TV

Most of this was posted on February 18th, though I have made several additions to the text, but since some new people have come along since then, I thought I'd republish it, for anyone who doesn't really know me other than the snarky in and outs and my bad Interview with New Jersey piece that so totally didn't work (sorry for subjecting you to that), but seemed like a good idea at the time:

What the fuck was up with this? When I was a kid the dummy in Magic kept me up at night, distraught. Imagine me, a dainty African Ambassador's son, in the 70s, sheltered from the horrors of the West in decline against the Soviet bulwark -- hey, that's the line we were getting from Amin -- freaking out over a dummy. Actually, there was a lot of "puppetry" as a "televisable entertainment," inexplicably going on in the 1970s, lots of arts and crafts and Shields and Yarnell. Crazy ...

Eight is Enough brings back warm fuzzy memories of childhood. One of the most intense memories of my childhood is the episode where the actress Bradford "Joanie," was playing the role Medea. It represented the Ultimate drama to me, at least the "deepest" drama I had ever encountered as an Ambassador's son constantly changing schools and continents. I was fascinated. Throughout the show she spouted lines over 2,000 years old. The canned laughter did not distract me. It had the same hold over me as those creepy ads on tv for the King Tutankhaman exhibit at the Met that aired during the mid 70s. Years later I found myself studying classics in college. Drama and the ancient, all represented by this hot chick, the actress, Laurie Walters. I blame Joanie Bradford for introducing me to Euripides at an impressionable age.

Fellini's Satyricon. A pagan work, to be sure; groaning with alien laughter. Un-be-fucking-lievable: creativity on a galactic scale. Nino Roti's staggering sonic assault of music from another planet alone is worth the DVD price. The Rablasian Fellini walks us through Roman antiquity as he imagines it, crossed with highbrow science fiction sequences of an imagined future looking backwards, soaked in burgundy. There can never be anyone as Felliniesque as Fellini. Fellini has this really odd little maneuver, where the actors are frequently standing still, looking into the camera, which creates a very disturbing effect on the viewer, as if the actors, beyond time are watching us view their little spectacle. I have a pet theory that surrealism isn't really an art form at all, just a division, or category of the occult. This movie would bear that theory out. Throughout the film -- the Minotaur spares Acyltus from a bludgeoning, prompting cosmic laughter spiralling at the end (the absurd universe?), then the rambling journey winding through the labyrinthine whorehouse at the beginning, with those withering close ups of the freaky pagan denizens therein, then the elaborate fake funeral at Trimalchio's dinner (eating and dying was all Trimalchio was about) -- all give off the combined effect that the film is laughing at you, the viewer. From some distance outside of time the film is laughing at the viewer. Very, very strange effect, that; even now, the echoes of their laughter caused a chill up my spine. Also, the world's first werewolf story, the Tale of Niceras, which, told over the distance of two milennia, is incredibly creepy. But my Ascendant is Aquarius and I am a Gemini who studied ancient literature in college, so I truly dig the ancient sci-fi horror psychological vibe.

Carl Sagan's Cosmos: Okay, so in the madcap world of astrophysics Sagan's hypotheses are probably all outmoded already. Right? So what? So is Ptolemy's Almagest and yet I still read it in college and gained benefit. The methods by which man came to his conclusions about the universe are worthy of contemplation; and, of course, worthy of more questions in light of our most current data. Cosmos is no exception. This series was the bomb! (looks around sheepishly, then raises hand, "question: who is the biggest PBS geek in the room"?) Classics are never outmoded, they exist to be rediscovered and add onto. 

Chespirito. This show was a mystery to me: Why would a grown Latin man in need of some excercise want to go on tv dressed like a racy little bumble bee number emblazoned with a big "CH" on his paunch. Subtitle it and put it on Trio; I'd watch it just to clarify my childhood mystery. I'd like to crack open a cold cerveza and figure this out. What the fuck was going on here? Why is everyone else laughing but me? I feel like I'm in a Fellini movie, but it is in Spanish and the sets are decidedly low rent. We'd all like to know what the people on that endless laugh track find so fucking hilarious.  I think this was a Mexican Show and, to be honest, I've always wanted to know what the life of a Mexican immigrant is like -- they seem to be sadly, partially through language, a very socially seperate part of New York City.  Often when I come back drunk from Soho, you can see the men getting off of work as busboys, taking their checks home to their wives. They seem decent people, even after some Heinekins and incredibly long hours at bad wages and horrendous treament. I'm getting off the subject.

Stoned, the Afterschool Special with Scott Baio. "Super Stoned Jack," was the scariest introduction that most of us had to the world of the sweet leaf. Sensimila? Not if you have any sensibilities! The tag line for this read:

"Jack is a motivated high school student who smokes cannabis for the first time, and falls in with a fast crowd. Will he wake up and realize what he's doing with his future before it's too late?"

If I were stoned I would never go out in a row boat on the grey and greasy river limpopo. Well, certainly not after seeing this little chestnut of a public service announcement made by anxious parents of latchkey kids in the Age of Studio 54. Put it on Trio so we can all laugh at the "reefer madness." Just say yes to that Farah Fawcett haired character Felicity. But I'm sure skeevy New York Times writer Neill Strauss will.

The Boy Who Drank Too Much Site wraps up a major plat point up nicely:

"Scott Baio plays a high school nerd, complete with glasses, pocket protector and the nickname "Melonhead." At first, clean-cut Jack (Baio) wants nothing to do with the burn-outs who sneak joints into the Boys' Room. Unfortunately, Jack's accomplishments are ignored, since Dad is too busy doting on his jock older brother Mike (Vinnie Bufano). Plus, a cute blonde named Felicity in Jack's Spanish class (Largo Woodruff, who later appeared in Tobe Hooper's THE FUNHOUSE) has him (excited), but the guy is too scared to speak to her. These teen pressures have Jack prepared to do anything to change his boring life -- even smoke grass! Oh, no! Of course, a couple tokes later, he's instantly hooked! Jack takes off his glasses, undoes the top button on his shirt, giggles uncontrollably, and suddenly finds the nerve to hang out with Felicity."

Dummy. Gritty 70s drama of urban social decline -- thanks, Ed Koch! Asshole! Back in the Koch day, NYC was all about twitchy pimps with straightrazors and purple suits with ruffled shirts and jewel encrusted goblets wandering the urban landscape (hey, come to think of it, the pimpy fashion aesthetic is very ... umm... priest-like), as well as greaser glue sniffing graffiti punks roaming the streets, wild-eyed, switchblades at the ready, in search of a little of the old ultraviolence. Koch turned NYC into a Guns n Roses video, with Mr. Brownstone creeping around Central Park in a raincoat with nothing on underneath!

Get this plot, though, peeps: LeVar Burton plays a deaf and dumb mute who is framed for the death of a prostitute (Kuta Kinte, you are a framed man!). But will we get justice for the amiable host of Reading Rainbow?

Anyhoo: Will a young Paul Sorvino get him redemption when he cannot even communicate with his morose client? Or will "Dummy" just become another urban statistic on the Koch street? Despite the overall bleakness, this a very, very cool slice of social commentary.
I loved this movie soo much in the 70s. I was an odd kid, as you can imagine.

Bugsy Malone. This was the shit when I was a kid. Scott "Chachi" Baio, who, incidentally, Hollywood has not been kind to, is in a period gangester flic ... only everyone is little kids. Crazy.

Jodie Foster plays an oversexed Tallulah Bankhead rip off. Why were Jodie Foster's preadolescent roles so highly sexualized? I think Ms. Foster has a legitimate gripe with her stage mother. And one can only imagine the shit she had to deal with on those sets in Hollywwod playing a sexually charged tween. Remember, Mary-Kate and Ashley were objects of desire waay before they turned legal. There's a gangster called Fat Sam. And the whole crazy 70s scenario is about spud guns, the empowerment of children -- I fell for this film hook, line and sinker. There is a veiled sense of poking fun at the Cold War here, the escalation of arms, detente, and all that, but a kid, even a precocious little diplobrat like me wouldn't see it. I loved this movie. I wish Trio would put it back on ("anybody who is anybody will soon walk through that door/ at fat sams grand slam speakeasy")

Kramer vs. Kramer. The first dramatic and fully articulated statement of the Baby Boomers achieving adulthood. A film of the first water. Young married couple breaks apart. They become two seperate people, no longer the Eisenhower nuclear family, post sexual revolution. Wife leaves shallow workaholic husband and baby to find her own particular nebulous conception of 70s "freedom". Goes out West. Hints of Big Sur, Esalen and the "Me" Generation. She finds herself. Comes back revitalized. In the meantime, shallow husband once defined by his work, like an IBM-era blue tie white shirt Organization Man, like--probably--his father changes, grows. Welcome to 1978, motherfucker. Ka-Pow!

Husband fights custody. Bach and Vivaldi weave in and out of this drama artfully; a drama that takes place, it seems, embroidered into the most poignant colors of Autumn in Central Park, from skeletal oranges and violent reds to sepia oches and deep emerald greens, the seasons wheel by heavily, like a Buach fugue. Those colors and the rich tonal echoes of Bach and Vivaldi accurately reflect the heightened emotion of the drama -- the decisive break from the previous Norman Rockwell-era, the divorce and emancipation of the Boomers in film.

And the courtroom scene where Meryl Streep slowly dissolves into tears offset by a forced composure, dignified in her hour of humiliation (better than Jane Fonda in Klute) as Hoffman's lawyer vivisects her irresponibility -- her feminism, her 1978ness -- are among the best goddamned acting you ever will see. Kramer versus Kramer is as good as film gets, heralding the onset of the Boomer Generation in much the same way Bill Clinton's My Life will forever change the way our "Kings" narrate the sequence of their movements through the stream of time.

Poldark: This cult British tv series is quite habit forming. Incredible. Just incredible. A period piece that is a cross between Wuthering Heights, the Mayor of Casterbridge and Les Liaisons Dangereuse but with a compelling soap opera character at its heart. A silver mine in the American colonies, unrequited love, lots of horses racing with that dull but electric blue 1970s skyline backdrop, aristocratic dreams thwarted -- call me Madame Bovary, but I dig that classical romanticism. A guilty high quality pleasure. You get sucked in to this costume drama that is one part Danielle Steele and one part high art.

Assorted Good Times episodes: Come on, you know you had a crush on Wilona ("and you too, Wilomena" said the archetypical corrupt pol, Alderman Davis) when you were kid, didn't you -- the only blingy woman in the projects; or, if you were a girl, Bookman the janitor was your long, cold drink of water. What, you never saw a black man doing a John Wayne impression, pilgrim? You better act like you know. And you know in your heart Wilona saved Janet Jackson from falling down that elevator shaft while trying to escape her mom who beat her with a hot iron just before she became Willis' girl, then Cleo on Fame.("and you too, Winooski") . But I was totally in love with Wilona; just as every African-American man my age took his cues from the proud George Jefferson as an influence, we all had a thing for Wilona, and many, many of the brothers are, as we speak, marrying Wilona clones. We can't help it. Her father must have been with the PLO, cause she was Tha Bomb!

Remember the episode where Michael gets crunk off some dodgy ghetto "health tonic" (aka, muscatel) with a dangerously high alcohol content? Crazy. classic ("Get Vita Brite and sleep tonight" ...*promptly passes out*).

Then there was the time Michael joined a gang and hid his jacket in the oven, which prompted JJ to note that the smell emanating from the kitchen was an improvement on Thelma's cooking. Oh, what about the one where Thelma almost married this polygamist Nigerian cat. Crazy! What about that pimpy guy "Lennay," who always sold hot appliances from out of his coat. Classic. So was the episode when James has hypertension. Apparently most of the writers were white, too. So was ... hey ... was this a comedy or what?
("and you too, Winifred")

Cinema Paradiso. The best work of art on the subject of friendship I've ever encountered. The Corsair lost a couple of tears in his Cutty Sark at the end of this one. Any classroom reading of Artistotle on Friendship should include a look at this film.

Shields and Yarnell. Come on, you know you liked it -- mime, dance and comedy sketches. What more could you want? Okay, talent ... is nice.

Fame the TV Series: Why are there not repeats on VH1 of this show already? When you say low budget and high quality I think .. right here's where you start paying for it ... with pain ... and sweat. The show of young, artistic people struggling for their moment to shine is about as American as it gets and less cruel than Donald Trump's Apprentice, where sharky career advancement is all about crippling the competition. Whatever happened to that sexy cello player who wouldn't give anyone the time of day, Lori Singer. I was all about the emotional cellist yet frosty behaving Lori Singer back in the day. Yummy.

Cries and Whispers by Ingmar Bergman. If Black Stallion is the most beautifully shot film, then this is number two. All natural lighting. Bergman uses a fade to red to seperate scenes, mimicking the inner membrane of our eyelids. About as fucking intense as art can get. And halfway through this film about communication and treachery -- where the incessant ticking of an pocketwatch reminds us of time's passage -- Bergman dissolves a reconcilliation scene between two hard hearted sisters into Bach's Sarabande no. 5 in D minor. That's so fucking cool it hurts to just write it (*sips Cutty Sark to steady hisself*)

The Black Stallion: Those fabulous Copollas! This is perhaps the most beautiful filmed movie ever. From the point of view of a boy. The Black Stallion is really about the restrictive society. Very 70s in that it lauds freedom ("keep on truckin'"). The image of the horse adrift in the Pacific Ocean, a burning ship sinking in the background, and the boy, by pure instinct, snatching the floating rope as it passes, is straight out of Jung -- all boldness, the act of grabbing hold; the rest is archetypal images of power and the unconscious.

The Gore Vidal-Bill Buckley Debate-Fight It was in the heart of the 60s: the polarized political center of the 60s. The left and the right clash violently on national television. In the news division of a respectable network. Fuck! A classic. The country was divided in those days is an understatement. Excellent. Buckley is the Grandfather of the American conservative movement; Vidal the leading leftist rhetorician (lefties don't organize hierarchical movements, it goes against type). For a moment, our two leading intellectuals of our two political polarities went at it in a bareknuckled intellectual fistfight. Not since Burr shot Hamilton dead has there been so much political drama in The Republic. Was there something in the water in the late 60s, or was everyone just crezzzzy.

Woody Allen's Teleplay: Don't Drink the Water. One of the most interesting experiments on television ever. Woody Allen directs and writes a teleplay starring Michael J Fox and the kid who played Blossom (Incidentally, you'll have to remind me to get back to the subject of Blossom). Shaky handheld camera follows a grown Michael J. Fox as he slowly becomes involved with a bright but much younger woman. How the fuck did this get on American and not Parisian tv? Aren't we supposed to be puritainical? Did Woody Allen have so much juice back in the day that he could put on pedophilic Americana on network tv? Does the story sound familiar? Actually the story is tame, and inventive and very, very arty.
Whatever happened to Slim Goodbody?

True, he was slim. Very slim. Okay, John Burstein was the classic ectomorph geek. But we were wild and innocent youth at the time. What were we to know about cool? But even as a kid, I did pick up a certain ... nervousness. Now, maybe that had to do with a really fast metabolism on his part. Or, maybe it's just the plain fact that dressing up in his mom's panty hose with your innards haphazardly painted on them isn't the best way to make a living; it's just not a socially acceptable way of being gainfully employed. And add on to that the fact that he did this in front of kids. Creepy factor. In the name of (makes broad ironical quotation marks with his fingers) "health education."

Said ectomorph with an afro would actually sing these horrible -- horrible -- rockabilly ditties and dance this really spastic jazzercize numbers, chicken legs flapping in the wind, all in full view of kids. How lame is that?

When I was a kid at the UN School it was considered lame to watch Slim Goodbody. Nowadays similar social leprosy could be gained from admitting to the consumption of Benson and Hedges cigarettes, or purchasing a Kenny G album.

For whatever unfathomable reason of the childhood cruelty of my generation, the Yemeni Ambassador's kid at the UN School was considered a geek. Kids are old school like that. Now, in his early 30s, that kid is right about now a mid level official in the tyranny there, taking out all his childhood aggressions on innocent civilians. Shit happens: I can't be held accountable.

Anyhoo: Even that kid -- let's call him the monkeyboy -- he thought Slim Goodbody was lame. That guy. And you know your up shits creek without a paddle if your shtick cannot appeal to the undiscriminating tastes of the Yemeni Ambassor's kid.

Matthew Starr pretended to be an earthling, but he was really the Crown Prince of the Planet Quadris. His father was overthrown by tyrants, so he was sent here to develop his telekenetic powers then go back to throw down some furious anger at his oppressors. His mentor is Louis Grossett Junior, who also pretends to be his science teacher.  Grossett notwithstanding, this show was a little too "caucasian" for me, no offense (to be honest, A Different World, in the later seasons, was a little too "African-American" for me, as well, no offense).

As opposed to, say, Bennu of the Golden Light, who is a messenger from an alien world, a scout. Bennu is looking for his lost companion, Mira. He aids people in distress with his freaky magical amulet. You better recognize.  Loved it: superhero on tv.

Alan Fawcett was the host of a show which scored pantomimers on originality, appearance and lip synch.

Quincy's understanding of forensic medicine was way ahead of it's time for prime time tv. He, Quincy, of the LA Coroner's office. He lived on a boat, was a 70s swinger, and played detective to find evidence to support his theories of unexplained deaths. This did not endear Jack Klugman to the po-po.

Greg Evigan played the independent trucker BJ McCay. He was a medevac pilot in the Nam and, somehow, managed to smuggle a chimp named Bear back with him. Living in a truck has it's advantages, as he croons in the theme song, "Best of all, I don't pay property tax." Sheriff Lobo was always on his ass for something or other. Quite possibly this was tax related.

Robert Gulliame -- who insists that he is not Haitian/caribeat, played an upwardly mobile household executive-budget director-Lt. Governor, Benson DuBois. (*snickers* DuBois?) His plight mirrored the rise of African Americans throughout the 70s, more accurately than Good Times (the low estimate) or The Jeffersons (an inflated estimate of the African American plight). He bantered with the Wagnerian housekeeper Gretchen Krauss, played so ably, ironically by the Nebraska-born Inga Swenson. That freaky kid Missy Gold with the big eyes and the adult dialogue kind of wierded me out. She harshed on my "I'd Like To Buy The World A Coke" 70s vibe. Benson always had an ironic stance -- laughing -- and I try to bring that to my own brand of cultural commentary.

So, now you know.