Monthly Archives: November 2010

Gwyneth Does Glee aka Vote For Me

It’s Friday and it’s a beautiful day outside. I was contemplating a serious blog post this week about overcoming my parental fears as my oldest daughter asks for more freedom and responsibility (like her own gmail account & walking home from the bus stop by herself – cue anxiety attack!).

Instead I’ve made a ‘teen pop’ playlist for the kids – some Glee, a little Usher, Miley and Beyonce, Kelly Clarkson, Lady Gaga, Pink, Selena & Cee Lo plus Avril Lavigne rocking the SpongeBob theme – and decided I’m going to write about that rock wife turned rock mom – Gwyneth Paltrow.

You have a lot to answer for, madam.

I blame Glenn Close, and I’ll tell you why. Back in 1996, Close starred as Cruella De Ville in the live action version of 101 Dalmations. Maybe it was the opportunity to bring an animated icon to life. Maybe it was the clothes, the wig, the chance to lighten up. Maybe, most likely, it was the paycheck. Otherwise why would an Oscar-winning actress subject herself to unfunny cartoon violence and being covered in fake manure?

Fast forward a decade or so, and we’ve got Meryl Streep in not one but two chick flicks (Mamma Mia, Devil Wears Prada) and Helen Mirren (She’s the Queen!) brandishing a mounted machine gun and yukking it up with Bruce Willis in RED.

Producer: I got four words for you: Helen Mirren. Automatic Weapons.
Studio Exec: Loving it! What’s the body count?

Now comes Gwyneth Paltrow guest starring on Glee as an all-singing, all-dancing substitute teacher. I watched her version of Cee Lo’s pop gem, “Forget You” (clean version of course) on YouTube and I thought, this isn’t Shakespeare in Love, this is… this is Moonlight and Valentino with singing! Oh, the humanity!

Marlo Thomas, having been clobbered over the head with hooker heels, will now showcase the complete works of Beyonce.

When one student accuses her of being 40, Gwyneth sasses back, ‘Top 40 sweet cheeks.’ Sweet cheeks? Cringeworthy! Is she channeling Reno 911’s Deputy Trudy Wiegel?

Don’t be hating on me, bee-a-tch!

Did I mention that Gwyneth not only gets to sing and dance but that she’s also the Spanish substitute teacher, just so we can marvel at her bilingual abilities! It’s a real Viva Las Vegas kind of gig. You know the plot – Elvis is a race car driver but he sings and dances!

I'm putting this in here because I can!

But you see, I have this theory that Paltrow is the Barack Obama of female movie stars. She’s very intelligent, accomplished, works hard, has a cool spouse and two lovely children but is just not the warmest person in the room. I mean, honestly, if you were gonna hit Ladies’ Night with Gwyneth or Katherine Heigl who would you choose? The gal who traded shots with Seth Rogen or the Oscar-winning thespian who mastered a Home Counties accent for Emma?

And I haven’t even mentioned her blog! (It’s goop.com by the way.) When I say ‘almond butter on sprouted grain bread and beet and walnut dip’ as fun alternatives in the school lunchbox’, I AM NOT KIDDING!

Come to think of it, she is Rachel in Glee isn’t she? Even when she tries to lighten up, she’s earnest, diligent… faultless.

But back to “Forget You”. It’s such a fantastic song, it’s hard to mess it up. Gwyneth’s voice is fine, nothing breathtaking but competent. You do cringe when she gets to the mangled cries of ‘Why?’ in the bridge and I wished they’d finessed that a bit. But overall she’s capable, in a Student Council/Debate Captain/yes-we-mock-you-but-we-also-envy-your-Cooking&Travel-show kind of way.

I was absolutely, unequivocably, most definitely not born a Coal Miner's Daughter.

In her next film, Country Strong, she plays this year’s version of Bad Blake (aka Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart) – a country diva fresh out of rehab who hits the road with a younger stud as her opening act. Gwynnie, we will certainly be looking out for you come Oscar time because nothing says ‘Thank you, Academy’ like a strung-out, Southern-accented heroine with cleavage. No doubt your research consisted of watching the entire Jessica Lange collection. I think they should combine the two movies – Country Heart Strong – and send Gwyneth and Jeff on a backwoods road trip in search of a down home creamery butter that’s good for you.

No, make that a creamy almond butter…

Loving it!

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Hathor Diaries (via LETHAL LEXICON)

A good friend of mine in the UK has started a blog – mostly sci-fi fiction. Very visual.

Hathor Diaries The Hathor Diaries  Day 01: Mournday, Doomsday, Weirdsday, Thirstday, Dieday, Scatterday, Sunday….Sunday… every day is Sunday now…except when the dust storms block out the glare. The radiation in the atmosphere makes the shimmering halos which circle the white-hot centre of the new-world sun – blue-green at noon, red-orange at sunset, grey-brown in the dust storms.  Last dust storm blew itself out over the dunes an hour ago and when it was done m … Read More

via LETHAL LEXICON

Kings of Lincoln’s Legacy?

What do we have to do with Lincoln? Read on and find out. Photo courtesy NME

This Saturday – November 6 – marks the 150th anniversary of the election of Abraham Lincoln. I know this only because I recently read a NY Times OP-ED by the writer, Tony Horwitz. Horwitz is a journalist and the author of Confederates in the Attic, which is a funny, fascinating look at the enduring legacy of The Civil War.

If you’re interested in reenactors, remembrance and why racism still exists, read this book!

This is a fantastic read.

Horwitz’s latest OP-ED makes you consider the power and impact of selective memory – something we’re all too familiar with, especially during this current election cycle. He writes:

“Earlier this year in Virginia, Gov. Robert F. McDonnell proclaimed April to be Confederate History Month without mentioning slavery, while the state’s Department of Education issued a textbook peddling the fiction that thousands of blacks had fought for the South.”

After I graduated from college in 1989, I worked for a summer in Galveston at a surf shop. We sold swimsuits, boogie boards as well as seashell tchotchkes and postcards. One weekday a tour bus pulled in to the parking lot and a large group of tourists started to disembark. It was a slow day so you’d think the manager would be pleased to see a big group descending on the shop. These customers were all older African-American ladies from Houston. The manager looked out at the parking lot and then turned to me and said, “Looks like we got a busload of niggers.”

He said this freely and openly, as if I’d laugh along with him. Ha ha. You’re so funny you crazy white man.

I was speechless.

When our history of slavery persists as the elephant in the room and the FBI registers over 7,500 hate crime incidents for 2008, you have to wonder: Why is it so difficult for us to get past race, gender and sexual orientation?

I’m not being facetious here, but I’m now going to segue in to talking about the new Kings of Leon video. Watch it here:

Now is it just me or does anyone else find this video not only pretentious but horribly questionable? We’re talking bad taste here. Really.

Am I overreacting? Am I being overly sensitive? I don’t know. I think it’s odd and just not appropriate, this sunset-lit, golden time scene of four Southern white boys treating a bunch of black children to a barbeque. We’ve got Caleb, in his suspenders and kerchief, looking like Johnny Reb, we’ve got pies and fishing in the creek and we’ve got a fricking gospel choir. A gospel choir!

Scary? Or sacred?

It smacks of pretension, dubious intentions and an overall preacher-heathen aesthetic that I thought had gone the way of Birth of a Nation. I want to ask the director, Sophie Muller, “What the f*** were you thinking????”

But I also have to ask myself, “Why are you so upset?” Is it liberal guilt? Is it because I can’t get past it? Am I too caught up in racist imagery that I only see:

Southern white guys + black children = plantation life

I can accept U2 and a gospel choir (Eh, they’re Irish, they talk a lot and they’re in love with Graceland and Muddy Waters), but I can’t accept four guys from Tennessee. Am I guilty of some kind of reverse racism here?

In a short ‘making of’ segment about the video, Nathan says, “…Gospel music was a big part of us so to be able to come back and revisit that part of our lives in this stage of our lives is pretty special.”

You know, I don’t know.

I’m suspicious.

What do you think?