Friday, January 14, 2011

My personal plea to Helena Bonham Carter.

Dear Miss Helena:

I know we’ve had a somewhat rocky history. I may have disparaged your performances in some of your earlier work. Some comment may have been made about a performance can’t just be all about “frizzy hair and a case of the crazy eye.” Chacun a son gout, right? And eventually, you did win me over. Starting with Big Fish, I’ve been in your corner.

Amazingly, even your fashion sense has finally brought me over to your side. How many people can say that? You work a crazy, gothic, Victoriana circus performer aesthetic with a tenacity, and dare I say virtuosity, that no one, I say, NO ONE in Hollywood has the balls to touch. You stay true to your own vision, when a lot of people just grab the first L’Wren Scott rag they can get their grubbies on and hope that no one puts them on a Worst Dressed list. You dare people to put you on a worst dressed list. You’ve got fashion brass ones, babe. And I’m behind you all the way.

So, here’s what I’d like to say, as a fan, please start planning your Oscars dress now. You were in 3 big movies this year. And you will be nominated for The King’s Speech (not sure if you’ll win, but the nom is a lock, and if I could give the trophy to you, I would). False modesty of “oh, I’m so surprised, I haven’t a thing to wear” sort will only waste valuable costuming time. I want spectacular. I want a Helena Bonham Carter Extravaganza Starring Helena Bonham Carter. Don’t pussy out and take something from Ralph Lauren just because they offer it. Bo. Ring. If you’re going to go with a designer, maybe Gauthier or Westwood. Maybe something vintage from McQueen (okay, might be too on-the-nose). But don’t feel like you have to go with a name either. Pick some young designer who will really collaborate with you. Or buy something in some scroddy resale shop. I trust your judgment. You just be you, and I’ll be happy.

See you at the Academy Awards!


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Not Performing to Expectations

Okay, here’s my current take on Britney Spears. My first reaction to her new song was, “Ripping off a 30-year old country tune is not exactly the way to earn back the respect.” But respect is not necessary in a dance track. You need a good beat, a catchy tune and/or lyrics and some personality. “Tardy for the Party” while not great music, is a pretty decent club track. Tardy. Party. It’s practically genius. I’d say “Hold It Against Me” pretty much covers the beat, but catchy it’s not, and it’s totally lacking in personality. It’s just not that good. Of course, it’s not awful either.

Anyway. Here’s my thing. If you look at people in show business who have really long careers, you notice the ones that have a good solid run are pretty smart. And the ones who have lifelong relevant careers are freaking smart. Cher is one smart cookie. So is Madonna. Tina Turner. I think Gwen Stefani could be on that road if she chooses it. Artists who are informed about their medium, and pick and chose their direction based on an understanding of who they are and how they fit into the current pop scene.

Others, who aren’t so bright, are performers. They are talented. They can do anything they are asked. They perform on command. But someone has to give the command. And they are only as good the choices of the person pulling their strings. I hate to say this, but Celine Dion isn’t the sharpest note on the scale. She got real lucky that her Svengali actually takes really good care of her. I think she could easily have ended up singing “Oh, Canada” at minor league hockey games in Saskatoon. But there are plenty of people who have had their 15 minutes, then disappeared. Not because they weren’t good performers. Because they no longer had the right person calling the tune. Take a look at Liza Minelli. Good management and she can still pull of a hell of a show. Bad management (or weird, closeted, puppet master/freak husband) and it’s Liza with a “Z” for Zoloft.

Now Britney is still young enough that, even though she’s not all that smart now, she could get smart. Work with good people. Learn the business. Learn music. Think. Otherwise, she’s doomed to being at the mercy of whatever Sven thinks he can make something of her. And at the mercy of his intentions and capabilities, good, bad or indifferent. She doesn’t have to be super smart. She just has to be smart enough to know that she needs to get smarter.

TIME: Quotes of the Day