Tag Archives: Johnny Cash

Tuesday, March 13, 2018


So much of TV entertainment footage in the past has been wiped out, including ABC-TV’s Countdown and GTK. However the National Film & Sound Archive has started to put online footage from the daytime The Mike Walsh Show which ran in the 1970s and 1980s to a weekly audience of 5 million. Footage included Johnny Cash, Bette Midler, Village People and Queensland singing nun Sister Stansilaus Zgrajewski, whose debut appearance caused such a storm (a good one) that she was invited back the next day. Singer, actress and comedian Bette Midler talks about the downsides of being famous, such as no longer being able to go to the supermarket. She says ‘If I go in California, they follow me and look at what I’ve bought. They judge what I’m buying … they’re really pissed off if I’m buying Spam!’ Keep watching the clip until the end because there’s a fantastic comedy moment where a woman has fallen asleep in the audience and Walsh notices. Midler’s reaction is very funny. This is a great example of the things that can go wrong on live television and how skilled hosts and comedians can milk them. To see a clip: Click Here
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Monday, October 9, 2017

(On her VH1 Behind The Music Documentary):

(On her VH1 Behind The Music Documentary): “I was very embarrassed that there was very little scandal; there was no scandal. The worst thing was that I had a bad review. People were laughing at me.” (Rocky Mountain News, 1999) – Bette Midler Image may contain: 1 person, text
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Friday, November 11, 2016

Bette Midler mourns death of ’60s icon Leonard Cohen as celebrities express their grief on social media

Daily Mail Bette Midler mourns death of ’60s icon Leonard Cohen as celebrities express their grief on social media By SHYAM DODGE FOR DAILYMAIL.COM PUBLISHED: 11 November 2016 Bette Midler expressed her grief over the death of 1960s icon Leonard Cohen, whose death was announced on Monday.

Midler, 70, tweeted upon hearing the news that the singer-songwriter had passed away at the age of 82.

She wrote: ‘Leonard Cohen has died. Another magical voice stilled.’

Bette Midler expressed her grief over the death of 1960s icon Leonard Cohen, whose death was announced on Monday

Bette Midler expressed her grief over the death of 1960s icon Leonard Cohen, whose death was announced on Monday

The legendary songwriter's death was announced on his Facebook page shortly after 8:30pm in New York (seen here in June 2010) +9

The legendary songwriter’s death was announced on his Facebook page shortly after 8:30pm in New York (seen here in June 2010)

‘Here I stand. I’m your man.’: Hear Leonard Cohen perform Russell Crowe added some of his own mournful musings on Twitter: ‘Dear Leonard Cohen, thanks for the quiet nights, the reflection, the perspective, the wry smiles and the truth #towerofsong’.

While Patton Oswalt saw deeper meaning in the passing of the legendary Hallelujah singer: ‘Leonard Cohen dying is so goddamned symbolic right now. You just don’t let up, do you 2016?’ ...  Read More

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Bette Midler revisits ‘old friends’ — her star-making songs

The Seattle Times Bette Midler revisits ‘old friends’ — her star-making songs Originally published October 17, 2016 at 7:25 am By MARK KENNEDY The Associated Press 2016-10-17_23-19-53 NEW YORK (AP) — Bette Midler is going back to the beginning of her career — the divine beginning. The Grammy- and Emmy Award-winner is re-releasing a deluxe version of “The Divine Miss M,” her 1972 debut album that included the hits “Do You Want To Dance,” ”Chapel Of Love,” ”Friends” and “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” “They were the songs that launched me, really. They were the foundation on which I built my career,” Midler said. “I’m always happy to sing them because they’re friends. They’re old friends.” Midler made a name for herself in the early 1970s singing high-energy concerts downtown with Barry Manilow as her pianist. In vintage clothing and with her bawdy personality, she breathed new life into old songs and made torch songs scalding. “She was, and is, the most brilliant performer we have in my lifetime,” Manilow said. “When it came to the music, her taste in songs and her choices were so odd — what was on the radio those days was nothing like what she wanted to do. Her taste was very much my taste.” Midler and Manilow put together a solid hour of music and one night lured Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun to a swanky midtown nightclub to hear it. “The audience was so crazy that at the end of the show they carried her out on their shoulders,” Manilow recalled. Midler soon signed with Atlantic and released “The Divine Miss M” based on her act. She won a best new artist Grammy in 1973 and went on to get two more, plus four Golden Globes and three Emmys. This spring she returns to Broadway in a revival of the musical “Hello, Dolly!” She admitted to being a little shocked revisiting the platinum-selling album that made it all possible 44 years later: “It’s just unbelievable the way that time passes. And yet I still look fabulous. What can I say?” Midler was hands-on with the re-release by Rhino Records, including selecting the bonus disc of singles, outtakes and demos. There are five unreleased recordings, including “Mr. Freedom And I,” and an alternate version of “Superstar.” She recalled that recording the album was stressful because co-producers Joel Dorn and Manilow didn’t get along: “In those days, I was really caught between a rock and a hard place. I couldn’t really stand up for myself.” Dorn, who had produced Roberta Flack, was the first to take a crack at it. He threw out Manilow’s tried-and-true arrangements and started from scratch. When it was finished, Midler stopped by to play it for Manilow. “Sure enough, she sounded like Roberta Flack. She sounded beautiful and professional and boring,” said Manilow. “She was never boring. That’s the last word you would ever describe Bette Midler, especially in those days.” Manilow vowed to not let that album out — “I was this young, punk musician but I believed so much in her,” he said — and lobbied Ertegun to let him produce a handful of the songs his way. It was a bluff: He’d never produced an album. Manilow tried to re-create a live vibe in the studio, inviting an audience and stringing some lights. “I wanted to get that wonderful personality on this record,” he said. “No, she didn’t sound like Roberta Flack.” His tracks were melded with Dorn’s for the final album. “Over the years she has sounded much better on other albums. But this album was so special and so unique and so individual and the performances are so brilliant — they’re funny and they’re moving, just the way it should be,” said Manilow. “I was glad that I fought for her.” The power and pizazz of “The Divine Miss M” was one reason Midler was asked by Blake Shelton to mentor his picks on “The Voice” this season. In a segment already taped, she advised them to take the stage with authority. “They get really brilliant voices but they’re very self-effacing people. They’re not personality-driven. They don’t come fully charged. That’s a piece of the puzzle that they sometimes miss,” Midler said. “The old school is to be able to do it all and to be a compelling presence on the stage.” Midler’s next project will show off all those skills — Broadway’s revival of “Hello, Dolly!” Demand for her is big — the box office took in $9 million the day tickets went on sale. “I’m in training. I can honestly say that. I know there’s a lot of expectations and people are looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to it, too, but I have a lot of weight on my shoulders,” she said. “I want to make sure my i’s are dotted and my t’s are crossed.”

  • Bette Midler To Expand The Divine Miss M
  • Bette Midler Re-Issuing Remastered ‘The Divine Miss M,’ Mentoring on ‘The Voice’
  • The attack on Barry Manilow
  • BetteBack November 15, 1973: Divine Miss M. Rocks Ithaca
  • BetteBack September 29, 1973: Every Gay Blade’s Fantasy
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    Sunday, June 21, 2015


    The Hollywood Interview MARK RYDELL REMEMBERS BETTE MIDLER! By By Jon Zelazny June 17, 2009 10707139_284117301788523_1996445211_n

    I haven’t seen that many of your films, so I rented The Rose (1979) last weekend as well. I was really surprised. I mean, when rock fans talk about the great rock ‘n roll movies, no one ever mentions it. But they should. What was it that attracted you to that story? ...  Read More

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    Friday, June 12, 2015

    Bette Midler: The Rose – Facts And Trivia

    Bette Midler: The Rose – Facts And Trivia 10706763_732352433504456_535004432_n What was the last question Rose asked before she died?  Where is everybody going? ( Rose asked several different times where everybody was going. It was the last thought she had before she died.) Where did Rose die?   On stage ( Rose died on stage while she was performing.) Who did Rose call just before she took the fatal overdose? Her parents ( Rose called her parents and told them the only way to take a break and stop the endless tour was just to make up your mind and stop.) Why did Rose’s lover leave her?   He couldn’t handle her life-style ( Houston loved Rose, but he couldn’t handle her life and she wouldn’t give it up to leave with him.) What was the last complete song Rose sang in concert? The Rose Stay With Me ( Though I have seen ‘The Rose’ dozens of times, Bette Midler‘s performance of ‘Stay With Me’ still sends chills down my spine and tears down my face) How did Rose get to her last concert?  By helicopter ( Rose’s manager had to send a helicopter to pick her up because she was too stoned to find the stadium.) Where was Rose’s final concert?   Her hometown in Florida ( Rose sang her last concert in Florida in the town she grew up in.) What event in Rose’s past was she very ashamed of?  She got drunk and had sex with the football team ( In high school, Rose had gotten drunk and had sex with the whole football team. She passed out and woke up on the 50 yard line, much to her shame. She never got over it.) What bad habit had Rose been able to overcome which came back to haunt her?  Heroin ( Rose had kicked a heroin addiction but the stress of her life-style eventually pushed her back into using drugs.) What was the name of the man Rose fell in love with? Houston ( Rose fell in love with a limo driver named Houston.) What desire did Rose express to her manager several times throughout the film?  She wanted to take a year off ( Rose was very tired and felt she needed time off but her manager was insistant that she would lose her career if she took a break.) What did Rose frequently drink while on stage?  Southern Comfort ( Like Janis Joplin, Rose drank Southern Comfort while performing.) What was the nickname of the real-life person the movie is based on? Pearl ( Janis Joplin was often called the ‘Pearl.’) What actress played Rose?  Bette Midler ( A very young Bette Midler played ‘The Rose.’) Whose life was the movie ‘The Rose’ based loosely on?  Janis Joplin ( While not completely biographical, ‘The Rose’ is based loosely on the life of Janis Joplin.) What are Rose’s last words?  “Where’s everybody going?” ( People in her life were always leaving her. She says, “Where are you going?” several times during the movie. In the end, it was too much for her and she overdosed on drugs, tragically collapsing on stage.) What experience did Rose have in high school which would haunt her for the rest of her tragically short life? She got drunk and took on the entire football team. ( After Rose and Dyer’s first intimate encounter, she confides in him that in high school, she got drunk and took on the entire football team. She woke up on the fifty yard line. This would be the first of many hardships Rose would endure that eventually cost her her life.) During which song does Rose collapse on stage? Let Me Call You Sweetheart ( The last complete song she sings is “Stay With Me”, but Rose collapses in the middle of an a capella rendition of “Let Me Call You Sweetheart”.) What actor played Mal, Rose’s personal bodyguard/masseur?  David Keith (. David Keith’s other works include “Independence Day” and “Daredevil”. Harry Dean Stanton played Billy Ray, Frederic Forrest played Huston Dyer, and Alan Bates played Rudge Campbell. Mal was one of the few characters who never left Rose’s side. I don’t think she every fully acknowledged and appreciated that.) What is the name of Rose’s manager, played by Alan Bates?  Rudge ( Rudge is Rose’s ruthless manager who would not let Rose take a break. This causes Rose to be very physically and emotionally worn out, adding fuel to fire that is her chaotic life.) The film was originally conceptualized as being a biopic of the late Janis Joplin. However, this did not happen and the script was rewritten to be about the fictionalized Rose. What was the original title for the script before the changes were made?  Pearl ( “Pearl” was Janis Joplin’s nickname. Her family did not give the filmmakers the rights to her life story, thus the story was changed. However, many elements of the original script still remain in the finished product.) Who directed “The Rose”? Mark Rydell ( Mark Rydell’s other works include “On Golden Pond” and “For the Boys”. Ken Russel directed The Who’s “Tommy,” Rob Reiner directed “This Is Spinal Tap,” and Martin Scorsese directed “The Last Waltz”.) What is the name of Rose’s cab driver boyfriend?  Houston Dyer (. He introduces himself as “Houston Dyer”. Rose asks if he is from Texas, to which he answers that he is from Waxahachie, Texas. They begin an on-off relationship for the remainder of the movie.) What is Rose’s full name? Mary Rose Foster ( Mr. Leonard, a store owner from her home town, finally recognizes her, and says her name. He didn’t even know she was a rock and roll star.) The movie was originally entitled “Pearl”, which was a biographical movie based onJanis Joplin‘s life. When approached with the script for “Pearl”, Bette Midler believed it was too soon after Joplin’s death to portray her life in a movie. Rewrites were then made, with Midler’s guidance, that deleted some portions of the original script and embellished other parts of the story. Then the rewritten script was named “The Rose” and Midler agreed to the lead role. Mal is seen applauding Rose from the wings during her singing of Stay With Me Baby, though it wasn’t in the script. David Keith simply spontaneously applauded Bette Midler’s heart-wrenching performance. Director Mark Rydell felt it was a good touch and decided to include the scene. The DVD sleeve notes outline a trivia item about the film’s comparisons with Janis Joplin. It reads: “Bette Midler‘s fictional role bears striking similarities to Janis Joplin, who many say was the film’s inspiration. Like Joplin, Midler’s character performs while drinking Southern Comfort, she is called ‘Rose’ as Joplin was called ‘Pearl’ and she returns home to flaunt her success, just as Joplin showed up at her high school reunion”. Mark Rydell would only agree to direct if he could cast Bette Midler in the lead. Up to that time, Midler had only appeared in bit parts in films, and was known primarily as a nightclub singer. The post-premiere party was held at New York’s Roseland Ballroom and featured three thousand roses, the 3000th being clenched in the teeth of Bette Midler. According to the book “The Academy Awards: The Complete Unofficial History”, Bette Midler “nixed” parts in Rocky (1976), Nashville (1975) and Foul Play (1978) in order to play the lead character in this film which would make her “an instant screen icon”. When Rose (Bette Midler) asks Dyer (Frederic Forrest) where he came from, he says “Waxahachie, Texas”, which is Frederic Forrest’s real home town. Bette Midler performed the film’s soundtrack album, the title song track “The Rose” was one of the biggest selling vinyl singles of 1980. Ken Russell was offered the director’s job but turned it down instead to direct Valentino(1977). Russell later said that this decision was the biggest mistake of his career. Actors Bruce Dern and Nick Nolte turned down the lead role of rock promoter Rudge Campbell which in the end went to Alan Bates. Start of the film, there was a photographer going to take a picture, you will see a picture of a little girl, it was Midler as a little girl when she was growing up in Hawaii Actress Bette Midler played another Rose-named character, Mama Rose in the remake of the classic Gypsy (1993), the name being similar to ‘The Rose’ / Mary Rose Foster in this movie. Midler was first touted to appear in Gypsy (1993) as early as 1980 when this film was in post-production and Midler reportedly held off signing until after she had seen the final cut of The Rose (1979) and the public’s reaction to it. Bette Midler‘s earlier film “The Thorn” [aka The Thorn (1971)] has associations with “The Rose” as rose bushes are thorny stemmed plants. “The Thorn” was made five years before “The Rose”. Midler’s 1974 film “Divine Mr. M” resurfaced in theatrical releases and on home-video during the early 1980s under its original title of “The Thorn” in an attempt to cash in on the box-office success of The Rose (1979). This was the first of two American music movies in a year to feature the word “Rose” in the film’s title, the picture was followed in 1980 by Honeysuckle Rose (1980). One of five of films directed by Mark Rydell which have a title prefixed by the word “The”. The films are: The Fox (1967), The Rose (1979), The River (1984), The Reivers_ and _The Cowboys (1972).    

    Bette Midler to bring KeyArena some ‘Divine Intervention’ ...  Read More

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    Tuesday, October 30, 2012

    Today in Music History

    The Province Today in Music History A look at events from past Oct. 30ths In 1908, Patsy Montana, the first woman in country music to have a million-selling record, was born in Hot Springs, Ark. She accomplished the feat with her 1935 recording of “I Want to Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart.” She died in Nashville on May 3, 1996. In 1939, Eddie Holland, one-third of Motown’s famous songwriting team of Holland, Dozier and Holland, was born in Detroit. Eddie, along with his brother, Brian, and Lamont Dozier, wrote more than 25 top-10 hits for Motown between 1963 and 1966. Among their successes were “Reach Out, I’ll Be There” for “The Four Tops,” “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” and “Baby Love” for “The Supremes” and “Heat Wave” for “Martha and the Vandellas.” Holland, Dozier and Holland departed Motown in 1968 in a dispute over royalties. They set up their own label, Invictus-Hot Wax, but business was curtailed somewhat until a lawsuit alleging breach of contract was settled out of court. Invictus-Hot Wax brought stardom to such performers as Freda Payne, “Chairmen of the Board” and “Honey Cone,” whose “Want Ads” was the company’s first No. 1 record in 1971. Eddie Holland also had some success as a performer, reaching No. 30 on the Billboard chart in 1962 with “Jamie.” In 1961, Phil Spector’s Philles label released its first single. It was a record by “The Crystals”: “Oh, Yeah, Maybe Baby.” The B-Side track “There’s No Other (Like My Baby)” ended up being their first hit reaching No. 20 on the Billboard Hot 100. In 1964, “(Oh) Pretty Woman” became Roy Orbison’s last gold record. In 1968, Johnny Cash was awarded a gold record — signifying one million in sales — for the album “Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison.” It was probably the first recording made by a major artist in a prison setting. In 1969, Irish-Canadian reggae-rap performer “Snow,” whose real name is Darrin O’Brien, was born in Toronto. “Informer,” from his million-selling debut album, “12 Inches of Snow,” topped the Billboard singles chart for seven weeks in 1993. He wrote the song in jail while awaiting trial on a pair of attempted murder charges, which were later dropped. Just before the album was released, Snow served an eight-month sentence for assault causing bodily harm. In 1970, Jim Morrison of “The Doors” was sentenced to six months in jail and fined $500 for exposing himself in Miami. In 1972, Elton John did a command performance benefit for Queen Elizabeth. In 1975, Bob Dylan’s communal “Rolling Thunder Revue” tour opened in a surprise concert before 200 people in Plymouth, Mass. The revue, which was on the road until the spring of 1976, eventually played large stadiums. One concert, at Fort Collins, Colorado, was recorded for the album and TV special “Hard Rain.” Among the huge revue’s entourage, were such regulars as Joan Baez and Ramblin’ Jack Elliot. The shifting guest list included poet Allen Ginsberg, Joni Mitchell and Roger McGuinn, formerly of “The Byrds.” In 1978, the animated TV movie “Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park” aired on NBC. In 1982, “Love Me Do” by “The Beatles” reached No. 4 on the British chart, 20 years after its original release. In 1982, lead singer Paul Weller announced the breakup of “The Jam,” one of the most important British groups of the early ’80s. Although they were consistent hitmakers in Britain with such No. 1 singles as “Start” and “Beat Surrender,” they never reached more than cult status in North America. Weller went on to lead another band, “The Style Council.” In 1984, Linda Ronstadt made her operatic debut in a production of “La Boheme” in New York. In 1989, a jury in Los Angeles awarded Bette Midler $400,000 in damages after a 1985 TV ad for Ford’s Mercury Sable unlawfully copied the singer’s vocal style. The spot used a sound-alike recording of Midler’s 1972 hit “Do You Want to Dance?” In 1997, Tommy Lee and Nikki Sixx of “Motley Crue” were alleged to have assaulted a security guard during a concert in Greensboro, N.C. The guard, John Allen, filed suit against the two a year later, claiming Sixx kicked and spit on him and that Lee doused him with beer. In 2001, after 63 years of selling music to Canadians, the Sam the Record Man retail chain declared bankruptcy. But Sam Sniderman’s sons Jason and Bob bought the company’s assets from a bankruptcy trustee and re-opened the Toronto flagship store in January, 2002. The flagship store closed in June 2007. In 2001, Gordon Lightfoot became the fifth musician to be inducted into the Canadian Broadcast Hall of Fame. The first four were Anne Murray, Bryan Adams, Celine Dion and Ian Tyson. In 2001, Michael Jackson released his first solo album in six years, “Invincible.” In 2002, Jam Master Jay (real name Jason Mizell) of the rap trio “Run-D.M.C.,” was shot and killed at a Queens recording studio. One of the forefathers of rap, he worked the turntables for the hip-hop trio and created a new style and sound that was copied by endless DJs. The band introduced rap and hip-hop to the MTV generation through hits such as “Rock Box,” “King of Rock” and a collaboration with “Aerosmith” on “Walk This Way.” He was 37. In 2007, Robert Goulet, the Canadian-raised singer known for his baritone voice and frequent TV appearances, died at age 73. In 2009, guitarist Norton Buffalo of the “Steve Miller Band” died at the age of 58. He had been battling lung and brain cancer. He played in the Steve Miller Band for 34 years. In 2010, Canadian teen pop star Justin Bieber opened Fox’s pre-game broadcast of Game 3 of the World Series with the premiere of a new baseball-themed music video for his song “Never Say Never.” In 2011, Canadian teenage pop sensation Justin Bieber became the first person in history to reach two billion hits on YouTube. In 2011, George Rountree, the musical leader of “The Four Tops”for more than 30 years and performed with some of the music industry’s biggest stars, died in a Las Vegas hospital. He was 61.
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    Wednesday, March 14, 2012

    Celebrity Impersonators and Fake Lives: Can They Retain A Sense Of Self?

    Huffington Post Real Thoughts on Fake Lives 03/13/2012 “Fake” evokes a number of images: reality TV, brush-on tans, social snobs, email solicitations from Nigerian “princes,” and Jim Carrey’s surroundings on The Truman Show. In the 2011 movie Albert Nobbs, actress Glenn Close plays a pretend guy, living a pretend existence. She resides in a tiny room with few possessions and a lot of misery. Her life belongs to her employer, although she stashes hope under the floorboards in the form of cash for a someday business. I’ve felt like Albert Nobbs myself; perhaps everyone has. At age 23, I applied to be a no-day-off nanny at a Beverly Hills estate; but when handed the job, I bolted. I suddenly realized I’d be living someone else’s life, dressing someone else’s kids, and endlessly focusing on someone else’s activities. I figured I’d rather be the main course on a table of hardship rather than a side dish on a smorgasbord of plenty. Then there were those moments of celebrity suffocation. As an accomplished party-crasher in my younger years, I hobnobbed with the rich and famous at award shows, on movie sets, at VIP parties and backstage at concerts. With most stars, I could breathe just fine; but there were a few who sucked all air from the room. Dr. Drew Pinsky would call them “narcissists,” a term he uses in his 2009 book, The Mirror Effect, to describe those who engage in unhealthy self-absorption and who strive to attain godlike status. He says the noteworthy rank higher on the narcissism scale than the unknown. As for the underlings and employees of egocentrics, I felt sorry for them; and sensed a deflated demeanor and emptiness in their eyes. I figured they’d lost themselves years prior. Narcissists permit only one balloon at the party: their own. Apart from those who take jobs unaware of the “soul-devouring” consequences, I wondered about those who intentionally live someone else’s life and headed to the 2012 Celebrity Impersonator Convention and Awards in Las Vegas. I wanted to know how “Sean Connery” and “Johnny Cash” felt about being Sean Connery and Johnny Cash. Could they retain a sense of self while playing 007 or a boy named Sue? The answer seemed to be yes, with some exceptions. “Dolly Parton” told me she was living her own life; but added that in another sense she was living nine lives. “I’m like a cat. I can portray Dolly, Elvira, Charo, Mae West and five other vamps. It’s all about the wig.” “Michael Jackson,” “Angelina Jolie,” and “Bono” said their essences were intact; and a hippie wearing round sunglasses concurred, “I am living my own life. I just want to make the world better.” “But you’re playing Ozzy Osbourne,” I said. “Even the real Ozzy Osbourne doesn’t want to make the world better.” “Bette Midler” said she didn’t feel absorbed in the role of The Divine Miss M., but added, “Of course, some people are delusional.” “Whitney Houston” agreed. She told me about an “Elvis,” who when off-duty, wore sequined pantsuits and curled his lip like “the King.” He’d break into “Kentucky Rain” during a downpour; and into “Blue Suede Shoes” when sliding on his Hush Puppies. “He was living in a time warp,” she said. “It was pathetic.” There were three Elvises at the Convention; and according to a clearly unreliable Internet source, there are an estimated 85,000 Elvis imitators in the world. This source says that by the year 2019, Elvises will make up one third of the world’s population. Oh, well, I suppose it’s better to have three billion Jailhouse Rockers than continents full of starving kids. A look-alike booking agent told me about a “Natalie Wood” who suffered from severe depression and who predicted she’d one day drown. And she mentioned a former “Marilyn Monroe” named Kay Kent, who got surgery to look like her idol and who once said “It’s almost as though by taking on her appearance I’ve inherited her troubles.” In 1989, this woman committed a copy-cat suicide, dying exactly as the real Marilyn did. The booking agent also revealed that impersonators who are in high demand are more likely to lose their own identity. “They can get caught up in the character, and don’t know how to snap out of it.” Due to the economic downturn, few are in high demand these days. There’s less money, but more sanity. Regular nine-to-five jobs keep many impersonators grounded. “Bret Michaels” told me that he worked as a truck driver, and “Dr. Phil” was a manager at Home Depot, advising the lovelorn on power tools. “Barack Obama” earned his living as a materials scientist, and “Tim McGraw” handled loss prevention at K-Mart. Unfortunately, I was unable to locate “Alice Cooper” for an interview; “Britney Spears” told me he was backstage having a sex change operation. And award nominees “Tom Cruise” and “Will Smith” never showed; they were probably on a mission impossible or saving a planet from aliens. The Convention taught me that you can impersonate someone else while “living your own life” or you can impersonate yourself while “living someone else’s life.” And it is mostly a matter of perception; it is a subjective and relative enterprise. What is tolerable to one person may be intolerable to another. Although I cringed at the thought of becoming a full-time nanny, others fulfill their dreams in this very field. Although I darted from narcissists, others were surely energized by super-sized personas. Shakespeare said “all the world’s a stage,” and it is possible Albert Nobbs agreed. Although I deemed her life “miserable,” perhaps she saw it as her own. Perhaps she was disguised as herself, hoping that today’s real Albert could eventually escape and become tomorrow’s real Albert, a freer version of herself. I left Las Vegas, realizing that it is important to have real thoughts and avoid a fake life. Whatever that may mean to you.
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    Thursday, June 3, 2010

    Before ‘Get Him to the Greek,’ 5 movies featuring rock-star wretched excess

    The Canadian Press Before ‘Get Him to the Greek,’ 5 movies featuring rock-star wretched excess By Christy Lemire (CP) – 43 minutes ago LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Long before Russell Brand scores a single baggie of heroin or trashes a Las Vegas hotel suite as British singer Aldous Snow in “Get Him to the Greek,” there’s been a proud and loud tradition of movies about rock-star wretched excess. After a while they almost become parodies of themselves. But some of them know just the right way to turn it up to 11: — “Almost Famous” (2000) — Probably Cameron Crowe’s best film; certainly his funniest, sweetest and most moving. He won an Oscar for the screenplay, inspired by his own teenage years as a reporter for Rolling Stone. We see all the madness of a life on the road through the innocent eyes of Crowe’s on-screen stand-in, played by Patrick Fugit, who goes on tour with the up-and-coming band Stillwater. Just say the words “I am a golden god!” and everyone will know what you’re talking about. Crowe made it all look dangerous and cool but wistful at the same time. — “Pink Floyd The Wall” (1982) — Inspired in part by Roger Waters’ childhood, this nightmarish look at a rock star’s descent into isolation and madness is harrowing — especially if the viewer is under the influence of some mind-altering substance, as well. As the burnt-out lead singer Pink, Bob Geldof hides in a hotel room, boozes it up and delves into painful memories of his past. Frightening animated segments suggest his inner torment. But eventually he unleashes his pent-up rage and trashes the joint in spectacular fashion, to the shock of the hapless groupie who’s followed him there. — “The Rose” (1979) — Bette Midler tears it up as the title character, a self-aggrandizing, self-destructive rock star very clearly inspired by Janis Joplin. It’s all there: the booze and drugs, highs and lows, histrionics and reconciliations. All Rose wants to do is rest after a hard-driving life of recording and touring, but her ruthless manager (Alan Bates) won’t let her. Flashbacks reveal the road that’s led her to the verge of snapping. Midler had appeared in bit parts before this, but “The Rose” provided her first shot at a leading role and earned her an Academy Award nomination for best actress. — “This Is Spinal Tap” (1984) — For nearly as long as there have been rock-star movies, there have been parodies of rock-star movies. This is, of course, the mother of them all — the film that started the entire subgenre of Christopher Guest mockumentaries. With this faux verite look at Spinal Tap, the mediocre-at-best British band, director Rob Reiner just nails the absurdity of the rock-and-roll lifestyle: the makeup and tight pants, the big hair and a tiny Stonehenge. Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer are all masters of deadpan improvisation. Too many classic lines to quote, but my favourite: “I’ve told them a hundred times: Put ‘Spinal Tap’ first and ‘Puppet Show’ last.” — “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story” (2007) — This hilariously over-the-top (and underappreciated) spoof is pretty much one long example of wretched excess. John C. Reilly is a total hoot as Dewey Cox, whose early life and rise to fame bear more than a little resemblance to those of Johnny Cash. He tries to remain a wholesome Southern boy as his career takes off, but then one of his bandmates (a perfectly deadpan Tim Meadows) introduces him to one drug after another. Orgies, trashed bathrooms, adopted zoo animals and countless children by multiple wives ensue. ___ Think of any other examples? Share them with AP Movie Critic Christy Lemire through Twitter: www.twitter.com/christylemire. EDITOR’S NOTE: First in a series of five most “whatevers” keyed to a new movie. This week, critic Christy Lemire plays off Friday’s release of “Get Him to the Greek” with a list of the five wildest examples of rock-star excess on screen. Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
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