The first time was for Africa (USA for Africa) and Michael Jackson was part of the vision. This time we have a vision of Michael Jackson included in the final master of what has become a who’s who classic. Bravo Lionel Richie and Quincy Jones! Just when you thought these things were just an 80s thing. A good thing never goes out of style or ceases to inspire.
Proceeds from the download for “We Are the World 25 for Haiti” will go towards earthquake recovery efforts in Haiti. The fundraising effort is part of the We Are the World Foundation.
Friday night’s “Thriller On H Street” party presented by the Joy of Motion Dance Center + Atlas Studio + H Street Main Street + Auto Zone (for use of the parking lot for the final performance) minus the lights.
First there was the 2-hour dance pre-performance rehearsal. Have to say, the room was getting pretty zombie ripe at the top of the 2nd hour.
Also caught a Halloween matinee of THIS IS IT, the behind-the-scenes documentary of what would’ve been Michael Jackson’s “come back” concert event in London. The theater wasn’t full; there was no scene at the box office. But people were taking pictures in front of the THIS IS IT poster after the film.
The new and improved “Thriller” effects for the concert that never was were impressive courtesy of Kenny Ortega and company. I tip my hat or take my glove off to Ortega not just for stitching together the bits and pieces of video footage to pull off what would’ve, could’ve or should’ve been, but for working as an equal partner with MJ on an over-the-top production; and you can’t do anything less with a Michael Jackson product especially after a 10 year hiatus. I’ve met Kenny Ortega. I was impressed by his energy. He loves his work. He loves dance. He loves music. It’s too bad how this turned out; but we’ll see how bad once the cash is counted.
I feel for the dancers who were so excited to be part of this experience – live that is. The dance auditions in THIS IS IT remind you of the opening scene of Bob Fosse’s “All That Jazz.” A strange kind of irony as [SPOILER ALERT] Joe Gideon (Fosse’s alter ego) dies of heart failure before the show opens; and the real Fosse died of heart failure while on tour with his show here in Washington, DC. In THIS IS IT, teardrops are already falling from the dancers’ eyes, and Michael was still alive and kickin’ at the time these interviews were videotaped.
I was also happy the film acknowledged all the people Michael collaborated with including Michael Peters the original choreographer for “Thriller.” The dance steps were still part of the performance for Michael’s “This Is It” concert. Be sure to stay for the entire credit roll.
Apparently, whatever substances MJ was on, they didn’t affect his ability to create and fine tune his work. As far as the work was concerned, Michael was definitely in control. My impression of the MJ team is that you not only have to be on top of your craft, you also have to be a fan. A Michael Jackson tour isn’t about getting your sheet music, learning your cues and your steps and collecting the check at the end of the day. It’s a Michael Jackson thing, and you have to be on board with that 200%. At the top of THIS IS IT, the film says it all – “for the fans.”
Update: Nikki Finke does some numbers crunching for THIS IS IT on her Hollywood Deadline blog. I mean, come on! Did we really think Sony was going to pull the plug after two weeks? The film should have the same 50-day run as the concert would’ve, could’ve should’ve.
An opportunity to see the artistic process that was Michael Jackson — how he worked, the vision in putting together a major show? I’ll take that over a “Behind the Music” or “A&E” biography anytime.
I suppose THIS IS IT is intended to be a posthumous last dance for MJ? “Or Is It?” might be the sequel. I’m not talking MJ sightings, following on the heals of a break in at the mausoleum, but stay tuned for more and more content Michael held back; casualties of his quest for perfection.
Nevertheless I’m setting my speed dial September 27. That’s the date tickets go on sale for the film THIS IS IT featuring the final rehearsal(s) for Michael Jackson’s major tour cancelled by his unexpected death. Here’s a link to the Sony site. The film will be in theaters for only two weeks starting October 28. A limited release is a recipe for mass frenzy which Michael would’ve loved. As I predicted in June, the show can and will go on.
I’m going to add Patrick Swayze to this post who died yesterday after an 8 month battle with pancreatic cancer. Patrick Swayze studied ballet with his mom, Patsy Swayze who also taught sisters Debbie Allen and Phylicia Rashad back in Houston, TX. Dance seemed to always be in Patrick’s blood, and he was pretty good at it. Patrick was the not so perfect hero in the long-shot films that would become 80s classics and even box office successes – “Dirty Dancing,” “Ghost,” “The Outsiders.”
His “Dirty Dancing” co-star Jennifer Gray released a heart warming statement:
Gorgeous and strong, he was a real cowboy with a tender heart. He was fearless and insisted on always doing his own stunts, so it was not surprising to me that the war he waged on his cancer was so courageous and dignified.
When I think of him, I think of being in his arms when we were kids, dancing, practicing the lift in the freezing lake, having a blast doing this tiny little movie we thought no one would ever see.
Patrick Swayze was 57. He was married to Lisa Niemi (since 1975). He also leaves behind his monther, Patsy Swayse, two brothers (including actor Don Swayze), and a sister. He told Barbara Walters, like in the film “Ghost,” he will take the love with him.
Fashion week begins September 10. This is the showcase for the 2010 spring collections.
In the meantime I’ve been flipping through September issues of a few magazines. It’s more of a September ritual for me than a habit.
I have to say less ads does make the load lighter. And I’ve actually given more of my attention to the ads, whereas in the past I treated them like hurdles in a 100 meter race to the main fashion spread. But less is not more for the advertising departments of major magazines.
It’ll be interesting to see what adjustments will be made to accommodate the slump.
Vogue still wins the weigh-in this year at 2.39 lbs. In Style came in 2nd with Elle trailing 3rd. To see the weigh in results of the September issues, go here.
I don’t read fashion magazines for the articles, at least not when I open one up the first time. I have Vanity Fair and New York Magazine for that.
I subscribe to Vanity Fair which means I’m the last to get it in my hot hands. The September issue is their “Style” issue; real people who made the annual “best dressed” cut for the editors of VF [Not a reason to buy VF’s September issue based on the tiny news service photos of the rich, powerful, famous and stylish].
September’s VF was also a multi-cover issues which, as a subscriber, makes me wary after the multi-multi cover Africa issue. I was hot for Don Cheadle’s cover. I like Bono, but…. For the September issue there were two choices of recently deceased celebrities: Michael Jackson and Farah Fawcett. Putting them side by side, I couldn’t help but think “separate and unequal.” There is no doubt Michael Jackson has a greater impact on popular culture, music, etc. than Farah Fawcett even in death. I guess Walter Cronkite just isn’t cover guy material.
When I opened my mailbox and saw the VF spine curled up inside, I took a deep breath, removed the plastic wrapped magazine and there was Michael’s black and white photo by Annie Leibovitz circa 1989. Lisa Robinson patches together a series of her personal interviews with the elusive Michael spanning from 1972 – 1988. I would love to hear what his other “low voice” sounded like. Michael always kept us guessing in his world of make-believe.
Note: . FYI – Michael Jackson was finally interned Thursday in the restricted Great Mausoleum at the Forest Lawns Cemetery in Glendale, CA. Quincy Jones, Elizabeth Taylor and others who avoided the public memorial at Staples Center, were in attendance. You can read Rev. Al Sharpton’s live tweets here (Sigh)
I have to say, I’m bored with the multiple articles on the Astor trial, the hype of “Mad Men” (more style than substance) and the dirty dealings of the Madoffs. I guess this fills the gap for writer Dominick Dunne who died August 26. I miss his regular columns on the real life stories of the rich, famous and devious. He knew them all.
NEW YORK MAGAZINE – While Waiting for the NY Times Fashion Issue….
New York Magazine’s Fall Fashion ’09 issue was dated August 24 since the magazine is a weekly. And they followed that up with a decent Fall Preview [arts and events] issue. I subscribe to this magazine as well. This year’s Fall Fashion issue doesn’t have the bulk of the monthlies; it has a weekly bulk, perhaps 1/3rd more of its normal size which requires adding a spine.
One of the features in NYM is an article about the rise and fall of photographer Annie Liebovitz’s personal bank account. There have been some corrections to the article since publication, but the basic premise is “How did this happen?” The shock is it was so simple; she spent the money. No one took it from her; no one cheated her; no divorce settlement, personal health issue or law suit. She didn’t have a budget. She just spent the money. Once that was established – that she blew it — I lost interest.
There’s an article about actress Audrey Tautou and the film “Coco Avant Chanel” (“Coco Before Chanel”) which was released in France in the spring. Apparently it’s on its way to the states in October. I don’t usually read celebrity articles unless it’s about craft or their inspirations and aspirations in the creative process. The publicity machine for the Coco film is trying to hit its target fashionista audience since it is a foreign film. NYM’s brief intro fits in with the Fashion Issue, and gives more paper to Chanel than Tautou, who was brought to the attention of American audiences in the film “Amilie.” Here’s a clip. FYI – no English subtitles.
HARPER’S BAZAAR – HABITATS FOR FASHION
I know I always come down on Harper’s Bazaar for their lack of diversity in their fashion spreads. But this month they made up for it in an odd sort of way. The editors sent Naomi Campbell on an African safari to talk with the animals, and models Chanel Iman and Arlenis Sosa on the A-Train to 1940s Harlem. The cynic in me saw this as putting black models in their “natural habitat.” They blend well with the scenery.
Granted, Naomi Campbell will go almost anywhere and do almost anything. She’s not political. She’ll look fabulous no matter what the backdrop; if she’s in the fields while a “Gone With the Wind” plantation house burns in the background, the title could read “Who set the fire?” Naomi was born in London, England. She was discovered when she was 15. Recently, PETA supporters discovered that she was the spokes model for Dennis Basso furs of New York. Ten years ago, Naomi appeared in a PETA ad featuring a group of nude models with the tag line “I’d rather go naked than wear fur.” Let’s face it, Naomi will do both. Ca-ching!
The third diversity make up moment is the Sesame Street spread featuring characters from the PBS children’s series with American designers, their designs worn by models of various hues. Again, Sesame Street is a natural diversity habitat and utopia. And it has a Big Bird too. 2009 is the 40th anniversary of the children’s program. Some of the designers featured are Diane von Furstenberg, Vera Wang, Derick Lam, Thakoon Panichgul, Carolina Herrera. Get the picture?
THAT 80s SHOW
People say the 80s are back. Or is it a Republican conspiracy to revive Reaganism? Even Reagan Republicans don’t recognize their party’s discourse today. Big shoulders come in two sizes: 1940s or 1980s. Bazaar does both from uptown to, Ivana Trump coifs at Trump Tower. British model Agyness Deyn is added to the 80s mix with a Thriller line. Michael Jackson – post-racial and post gender. I only wish Essence had been so shrewd instead of giving us 30 pages of memories of Michael. We’ve been there and done that on Facebook already.
An essential piece for a woman to have in her wardrobe this season is a sequined jacket. Sequined glove is optional. Leather is big this fall as well.
I can’t imagine MJ’s red Thriller jacket seriously hitting the streets again. I mean Eddie Murphy laughed that one into the heap in the 1980s film “Beverly Hills Cop.” Can it really make a comeback? You betcha.
An odd moment was a one-pager “What Would Coco Do?” Karl Lagerfeld designer for the Chanel label channels the great namesake in this interview speaking for madame. If you can’t have the real thing, why bother. This could be a sequel to the movie “Ghost.” Ask Whoopi.
I did read the article on Susan Boyle, 2nd place runner up from “Britain’s Got Talent” and YouTube sensation. Susan looks like her better self. She’s been in the recording studio. I always say, winning isn’t everything. It’s what happens after that counts.
Bazaar is good at giving the fashion challenged sane guidance. You can see the clothes in Harpers Bazaar vs. just the concepts or obsessions of the editors.
Another plus for Harper’s Bazaar is their age appropriate fashions and editorials. One can grow up and older with Harper’s Bazaar unlike Glamour or Elle which kicks you to the curb at 40. The September issue has some fascinating updates on those anti-aging procedures.
Gossip Girl’s Leighton Meester, this month’s cover girl, gets a peek into her future with an aging makeup and Photoshop trick illustrating that Meester has the genes for “growing old gorgeously.” Here is an opportunity to insert Madame Coco Chanel’s actual words:
Nature gives you the face you have at twenty. Life shapes the face you have at thirty. But at fifty you get the face you deserve.
InStyle – 15th Anniversary Special Issue
A contender on the weigh in and that’s sort of where it ends. I usually buy an InStyle for airplane reading or if I’m going to an event with celebrities and need some last minute hints on trends, and what’s walking down the red carpet. Because they use paparazzi and press photos, it’s a pretty economical production. InStyle wants you to look like a celebrity at a price you can afford or splurge on. Good tip for how to work your eyebrows. They are right on about MAC’s eyebrow pencil. Best one I ever had.
VOGUE’S REAL SEPTEMBER ISSUE
Vogue was the last September issue out of the gate. I assumed they were timing it with the release of the documentary “September Issue” which I saw earlier this summer at SilverDocs in Silver Spring. Washington Post fashion and culture journalist Robin Givhan was the moderator for a one-on-one with director/producer RJ Cutler after the film. Vogue editor Anna Wintour saved her appearance for the red carpet premiere in New York City.
Anna conducts her public self in the way my uncle used to advise us – “Always have an air of mystery about you.” However, the mysterious public Anna seems to draw the ire of maybe Vogue editor wannabes and others who were more invested in impressing her with their personality and inflated sense of self rather than doing their job. Or maybe Anna jumped the latte line at Starbucks infuriating one of her blogging nemesis. I think I’ve said this before, but people I know who’ve encountered Anna, like her. I’ve even heard the word “gracious.” But they also weren’t interested in climbing on her back to reach the next level.
One thing I believe Anna Wintour has graciously anticipated, thanks to “September Issue,” is that a spotlight has finally come up on creative director Grace Coddington. Grace’s tastes, temperament, and style contrast and conflict with Anna’s and mutually compliment both women.
I actually remember and retain the images of Grace’s work even before I knew who the actual woman was. Grace has a signature style. I respect the Vogue aesthetic for insisting on a story before the clothes are removed from the rack.
In the 2009 September issue, Grace takes the models into the woods to highlight the season’s reds that unleash wolf calls.
I remember the 2008 September issue (featured in the documentary), and Grace’s 1920s spread. We were reading F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby for the city’s Big Read. I pulled out the pages of the women dressed in 20s fashions in the Parisian café setting and filed them in my notebook. Since the film, I’ve taken up reading the credits for each fashion spread. That’s the power of the medium of film. “September Issue” was the best thing to happen to American Vogue.
Vogue mirrors Bazaar in doing a 1940s spread with big shoulders (I say mirror because Bazaar came out first). However Vogue sends their models downtown to Birdland, Café Society, and echoes New York ladies of the silver screen like Brooklyn’s Barbara Stanwyck (Grace edited this as well.) Sticking to a historical script, there are not too many brown girls in the crowd. There is only one to break the color line, model Liya Kabede. Kabede also gives a nod to Lena Horne, who broke color barriers in black and white in 1940s Hollywood. Thirty five years ago Beverly Johnson broke the color barrier on the cover of Vogue. Her story is included in the September issue.
Teri Agins who covered fashion for the Wall Street Journal, is still keeping track of the economics of fashion in her article “What Price Fashion?” Teri gave me a thumbs up for one of my crazy long emails on fashion before I started this blog. So right back at-cha, girl.
Actress Charlize Theron’s contact sheet will not get the now documented-for-life-dress down last year’s cover girl Sienna Miller got as seen in the doc. “September Issue.” I guess Sienna and the magic Photoshop artists finally got the hair together for Vogue’s July 2009 cover. The theme for Theron’s spread was painter Georgia O’Keefe at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico. Tonnie Goodman is the editor. I skipped the article. The Whitney Museum in NYC launches a major exhibit, “Georgia O’Keefe: Abstraction” September 17.
“Project Runway” now Online Project
I hope Lifetime has worked out the bugs on their “Project Runway” website. I don’t have cable so I have to play catch up. But here it is.
MORE OR LESS SEX AND THE CITY
Cameras started rolling in New York City this week for the “Sex and the City” movie sequel. The question is what’s going on with Mrs. John Preston, formerly known as Carrie Bradshaw played by Sarah Jessica Parker.
I was luke warm about the first “Sex and the City” feature film, and don’t have high expectations for “Sex and the City 2.” But like a bottle of Merlot, I just have to pick it up every now and then. I have the entire television series on DVD which I usually watch when I’m in a slump. Good junk food. Oh the good old days of eating out 3 times a day, impulse spending and maxing out credit cards.
The Fan Site is up and running
Huffington Post is conducting a poll on Carrie’s clothes based on pics available thus far. One, I believe, is a flash back – perhaps when Carrie first moved to NYC in the early 1990s.
I took a Facebook quiz asking which “Sex and the City” character are you? I always thought I was a Charlotte. Turns out, I’m a Carrie.
I guess I got issues.
These items will be dripping in today as there’s a lot on my list of “to-do’s” beyond the blog.
THE SOTOMAYOR CHRONICLES
Yesterday’s hearing went on for 8 hours. I saw/heard up to 6 on the pool feed, but was fortunate to witness a reversal of fortune where life imitates art. Judge Sotomayor broke through the fourth wall with an “Annie Hall” moment — the scene where Alvy (Woody Allen) and Annie (Diane Keaton) are standing in a movie theater line while a Columbia University professor pontificates film criticism ending with a comment about the media theorist Marshall McLuhan (1911 – 1980). Alvy just happens to have the real Marshall McLuhan behind a billboard for a cameo appearance.
Watch the clip (“Annie Hall,” 1977, directed by Woody Allen):
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.), in an effort to discredit Judge Sotomayor based on her “wise Latina” speech, referenced Judge Miriam Cedarbaum (a Reagan nominee to the bench) whom, Session said, “believes that judges must transcend their personal sympathies and prejudices.”
Sotomayor responds: “My friend Judge Cedarbaum is here….We are good friends, and I believe that we both approach judging in the same way, which is looking at the facts of each individual case and applying the law to those facts.”
According to Washington Monthly, Judge Cedarbaum reported back to the Wall Street Journal: “I don’t believe for a minute that there are any differences in our approach to judging, and her personal predilections have no affect on her approach to judging.”
Yes, life can be like this.
WORTH THE READ – ROLLING STONE
Summer is the most agonizing bore of a season for magazine reading. Since I don’t own a grill, the foodie magazines don’t even appeal to me. Press pause until September. But based on recent events, I suppose some have the ways and means to catch a 2nd wind in this shrinking print media market especially periodicals that cater to the celebrity or entertainment reader. Rolling Stone is one of the few magazines that never waits for September. This month, they rolled out a commemorative Michael Jackson issue. Not only does it include a fine overview of the music, artistry, mania, and manic mania that was Michael Jackson, it includes a reprint of Rolling Stone’s 1983 interview by Gerri Hirshey. While flipping through the Rolling Stone I realized I know nearly every Jackson 5 or Michael Jackson song recorded including lyrics. Was I a life-long fan and didn’t know it? Hmmm.