Friday, March 31, 2006

Talent-Less Tantrum

So, Naomi Campbell has been arrested following another “episode” in New York. Apparently this time Miss campbell hurled her crystal encusted (how camp) Blackberry at an unsuspecting maid, gashing her head. This was also done in the presence of a camera crew (derrrrr, smart move Naomi!) When will Miss Campbell realize that whilst it is acceptable for the talented to be temperamental it is not acceptable for a talent-less clothes horse?

I find it interesting that those normally accused of Diva like behaviour are invariably at the top of their field, think Maria Callas, Martha Stewart, Diana Ross, Faye Dunaway, Bette Davis etc etc. The line between genius and madness is often blurred and I wonder, is the cause of this behaviour simply that they can get away with it? Or is it a relentless pursuit of perfection that is misinterpreted as being difficult? In reality it’s probably a bit of both.

Take Miss Streisand as an example, she has a reputation as a total bitch on set and in the recording studio. I can excuse her “temperament” when you consider her relentless pursuit of perfectionism, has given her a career at the top of her profession for over 40 years, on the other hand her insistence that every toilet she uses is sprinkled with rose petals is just Divadom gone mad! Why do people put up with it….well she is Barbra Streisand and like all truly talented individuals we forgive her, in fact we almost expect it.

So Naomi stop being such a prima Donna and leave the diva antics, temperament and tantrums to the truly talented who have earned the right.

Naomi being led away by new York's finest, in white fur poncho and this years must have accessory....handcuffs

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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Drama Queen- Theatrical Flops

This week I was unlucky enough to witness two theatrical disasters.....

Sinatra at the Palladiuium
Directed by David Leveaux.
Where do I start with this? Firstly to call it theatre would be wildly optimistic if the experience was anything it was cinematic. Rare footage of the late crooner was digitally enhanced and beamed onto a blank screen while a band and some rather second rate dancers cavorted around Ol Blue Eyes. At no point was an illusion of Frank actually being there ever achieved and the best that can be said was the tunes were great. Apparently this show cost a fortune to produce (it obviously wasn’t spent on choreography!) and one cant help feeling the producers would have been better off removing the dancers and just showing the enhanced footage as a straight movie. One particularly incompetent review burbled that “as the image of Frank drifted across the stage it was hard not to believe he was there”……..drivel if anyone can be carried away by a projection screen hoisted across the stage on wires and accompanied by dancers left over from seaside special, they need to be committed. The final insult to good taste came as images of Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks and John F. Kennedy drifted across the screens to the accompaniment of Frank singing Send in the Clowns! This particular "montage" was ended with a dancer dressed as Jackie Kennedy, in the "Dallas outfit" releasing a balloon and looking tearful…..How tasteless can you get? Am I being to harsh? Possibly? The audience, which appeared to be almost entirely made up of local authority housing tenants , seemed to love it……but then there really is no accounting for taste. I had complimentary tickets and still felt cheated! Save your money and stay home with a Sinatra CD.
* Star

Resurrection Blues
By Arthur Miller. Directed by Robert Altman

The Old Vic
Considering the author, director and an all star cast including Neve Campbell, Jane Adams, Matthew Modine, James Fox and Maximillian Schell, you would have expected a pretty great show…….wrong. Miller died shortly after writing this piece presumably of shame or terminal boredom. The dreary plot concerns a possible messiah and a possible execution in some banana republic and is tentatively billed as comedy.....Hah! If a dreadful script weren’t enough, the production is further hampered by clumsy direction, a certain TV/movie star unable to project past the first three rows (Neve you know who you are!) and a performance by James Fox more wooden than a lumber yard. The only glimmer of saving grace was a competent performance by Mr Schell and the decoration offered by Mr Modine. All in all, a big disappointment
* Star

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Lady Marmalade-Toast?

Leather lunged, scary hair, Diva Patti LaBelle had a public meltdown on Saturday at the Riviera Beach Jazz and Blues Festival. When she opened her mouth to sing and nothing came out. Patti, who has butchered many a great tune over the years with her swooping and screeching vocal acrobatics, is also the only woman, who can squeeze fifteen syllables into the word hello but Saturday the voice said goodbye. Patti reminded her audience, she is 62, has diabetes and a heart murmur, by way of an apology/excuse. She then went on to say the cold weather didn’t agree with her (echoes of Whitney’s winter Olympics fiasco?). Patti then burst into tears and left the stage……..hmmm ironic that Patti cries when she can’t sing whilst the rest of us cry when she can!

Patti time to focus more on your new career as cookery writer maybe?

See the official response from Patti along with some of her delicious recipes! At her website

Houston We Have a Problem

Earlier this month I commented on the Car Crash that is Whitney Houston and now it appears she has finally hit rock bottom. The Sun Newspaper today says it all, with its headline Whitney on Crack

"First of all, let's get one thing straight. Crack is cheap. I make too much for me to ever smoke crack. Let's get that straight, okay? We don't do crack. We don't do that. Crack is whack." (Whitney in TV interview with Diane Sawyer 2002)

whilst I like a bit of salacious gossip as much as the rest of you, I actually wish Whitney would get her act together if only for the sake of Bobbi Kristina. So come on Whitney, Crack is Whack, sort it out! We dont need to be seeing pictures of your crack den at the breakfast table.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Judi Dench - Nothing Like a Dame

I have just booked my tickets to see Judi Dench’s return to the West End in Hay Fever by Noel Coward. This glitzy production by Sir Peter Hall sees Dame Judi on safe ground with a star turn in a proven hit…..again. Whilst I’ve no doubt it will sell out and prove popular with audiences, it would be nice to see the old Dame tackle something a little more taxing and innovative than this old chestnut. Lately it would appear that she is playing safe in proven little scene stealing roles like The Royal Family. Even the two hander, with Maggie Smith, Breath of Life was pretty safe ground and that was 4 years ago. In the meantime there has been a string of roles as kindly and dotty old women in films like Ladies in Lavender and Mrs. Henderson presents, along with her never ending and somewhat twee sitcom. Hardly challenging stuff! and she is not alone that other old warhorse of the British acting fraternity Dame Maggie Smith has descended into the same kind of dreary roles (Keeping Mum and Ladies in Lavender being prime examples) and even worse Harry Potter cameos that require her to do little more than order the children “back to the dormitory at once” (in a second rate Jean Brody accent) then collect the cheque. Now I appreciate that age has had its toll on these formidable Dames, Dench looks more and more like a fallen soufflĂ© with her grey geriatric lesbian hair and Smith resembles a bug eyed prune, which rules out any ingĂ©nue roles but surely there’s a bit more on offer than these cutesy old dear parts. Maybe they are playing it safe, maybe they just want to take it easy or maybe the directors and producers won’t offer anything else? But in my mind they should take a leaf out of the book of our 3rd most illustrious actress Dame Diana Rigg. Who, though only 4 years younger, attacks new projects and plays with relish. Proving that she may be over 70 but she is definitely not over the hill! So come on Ladies get out of the Lavender and into something worthy of your talents.

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Joan Collins-The Bitch is Back!

Hurrah! The Bitch is back. La Collins swept back onto our TV screens last night in a Footballers Wife cameo as Ava De Wolfe and what delicious fun it was, as she sparred with Tanya, made out with a boy a third of her age and fell flat on her ass with her wig askew. Only our Joanie could pull off a push up bra at the age of 72! Then get away with calling Tanya a coked up bitch and a slag and still appear classy. Joan Collins we salute you! a British Institution and a true Queen of camp.

Click below to see Joan's best bits
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Paula Abdul to Join Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Cast?

Paula Abdul?

Seprated at birth?
Or just another re-casting of Chitty's Child Catcher?

The Child Catcher?

Transamerica-Go See This Film

Ordinarily, I post my film reviews once a month but this one couldn’t wait till next month and deserved more than just a squib in a monthly round-up. This is without a doubt the best film I’ve seen this year and last night I saw it again and it just gets better with each viewing. This beautifully crafted film stars Felicity Huffman (previously until I saw this film my least fave Desp H. Wife) in a spectacular performance as, ironically named, transsexual, Bree. Who is just biding her time for the operation that will make her a woman. When into her oddly ordered life drops her son (played brilliantly by young cutie Kevin Zegers) a son Bree never knew existed until he’s arrested in New York. What follows is a moving and funny road trip which takes these two characters on a journey across America and more importantly on a journey of discovery. Bree’s line “My body may be a work-in-progress, but there is nothing wrong with my soul” is quite fitting as this is that rarity of things a US movie with real heart and soul with characters that are strange but genuinely likeable. Part of the credit needs to go to the fantastic script but it is Huffman’s dazzling performance that is at the heart of this films beauty. Quite rightly she won the Golden Globe for best actress and criminally she was robbed of the Oscar by that huge chinned munchkin Wreath Woodenspoon.
The film goes on general release tomorrow in the UK. If you see only one film this year make it this one.

Smoking Myths

Smoking probably has more myths and mystique surrounding it than any other habit /vice. For years advertising films and peer pressure have created a myth of the sophistication of smoking. I for one totally bought into the myth along with all the other ones….that it keeps you thin, looks sexy blah blah blah. Hey! Don’t judge me I was an addict and addiction wreaks havoc on your judgment.

But I also bought into the myth of non smoking as well. I was told you will feel great, your energy levels will soar, your skin will glow and your teeth will become movie star white. Well guess what? The myths of non smoking and myths of smoking are just that myths.

Since giving up smoking a month ago, (although a recent slip means I have actually had ½ a cigarette in that month… sue me!) I have never felt so Ill, my throat is sore my skin has erupted I feel like crap, can’t sleep and am cranky as hell. The craving that they told me would get better after the first week is, if anything, worse. So why am I bothering? Well if new legislation comes in I don’t want to have to stop going out to bars restaurants and clubs because I can’t smoke. So maybe the myth that smoking bans cause more people to stop is the only one that’s true?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Cher The Love

Cher who last year famously referred to Christina and Britney as Ho's looks less than ecstatic to be in Christinas presence at the Agent Provocateur fashion show, bad blood? or is it more to do with the fact that Christina looks particularly fresh and well turned out, whilst Cher is looking a tad tired and scruffy? At least the two divas agred on one thing; this years must have accessory whilst attending a catwalk show is the ugliest man you can find! (but hey, at least Cher isnt married to hers)

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Bette Midler - Another old Icon hits 60!

First Liza, then comes the revelation, that Bette Midler has hit the ripe old age of 60. The divine Miss M let slip her recent birthday milestone on the Parkinson Show saturday and as she said herself "I know what you're all thinking....I look fabulous!" I think more to the point is..... you look fabulous what the hell happened!

Credit certainly needs to go to Miss M's surgeon who has performed nothing short of a miracle! Who says you cant make a silk purse out of a sows ear/face?

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Budapest Palaces & Peasants

Ive just come back from budapest and what a strange place it is. A city fiercley proud of its culture but with a flagrant disregard for its couture.

There is a theory that if you put people in elegant surroundings they will dress accordingly. This theory definitely appears to have passed by the inhabitants of Budapest! The city’s architecture is a beautiful example of (pre communist) Eastern European elegance. In fact budapest is known as the Paris of the east. However the people dress, like Stalinist peasants, the women are particularly style less with a nasty taste for garishly died red hair and cheap shoes. In summary great buildings lousy clothes!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Liza with a Z hits Sixty with an S!

We can barely move for Liza coverage at the moment as if the long awaited re-release of Liza with a Z wasn’t enough, there are rumors that cancelled show Arrested Development on which she palyed a re-curring role maybe picked up by another network
giving her more TV work.
Liza has also just finished a mini tour of Germany and her face currently adorns countless posters all over Budapest, heralding her long awaited concert debut there, on 10th April. Let’s hope this concert goes ahead, after the 2004 debacle, when dodgy promoters billed her in concert only to actually produce Bonnie Tyler on the night! (click here to read more) Not sure why Liza has chosen the somewhat random place of Budapest to perform? But it may have something to do with the quality of some of her recent performances and the fact, that news of a disastrous performance is far less likely to make it back to the good old US! (see the example below I taped from The Royal Variety Show)

Hush my mouth I’m sure it’s just a case of Liza, having always wanted to reach out to her many, many fans in Hungary.

As if all that wasn’t enough? Our favorite gay icon and juggernaut (so much bigger than a car!) crash. Liza (with a Z!) has turned 60! Who would have thought, given her history, addictions and studio 54 she would ever make it past the 70’s but she has… well most of her! She lost a couple of hips and a lot of her sanity along the way but she’s still standing (thanks to those new hip joints). Life hasn’t always been a cabaret for our legendary old chum, she battled booze, pills, bitter sister and gay husbands but behind the tabloid headlines is a trouper with a huge reserve of talent who was once, one of the brightest stars in the firmament and if her life has been a bit of a disaster area lately its no surprise, given that she is descended from hollywood/gay icon/car crash royalty and whilst things have been bleak for Liza she has still managed to outlive Momma by 13 years and tabloid editors, gossip junkies and fans alike are all eternally greatful. Long Live Liza with a Z and happy 60th birthday!

Click here to See the brilliant Crazy with a Z, Larry King clip Montage courtesy of FourFour....Liza at her crazy best!

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Thursday, March 16, 2006

March-Love Hates

3 Things we’re loving in March

The Oscars
Red Carpet Fever, The Frocks, The Suspense Joan and Melissa-Fantastic and this year a clutch of brilliant films nominated. Hurrah for the Academy Awards!

Footballer’s Wives Returns
Hurrah the bitches are back! & this season with the addition of the fabulous Joan Collins, who dukes it out with Tanya Turner in episodes 5 & 6. What more could you ask for?

Pamela Anderson
Her picture with the legendary Mamie Van Doren stole the show in Tom Ford’s dreary Hollywood Vanity Fair issue. PETA warrior and all round star, we almost forgive you for that monstrosity you wore to the Golden Globes!

3 Things we’re hating in March

Dallas big screen re make
No, no, no! Wrong on so many levels! J. Lo as Sue Ellen please! Reese Witherspoon as Pam, Jane Fonda as Miss Ellie and Travolta as JR! Maybe Ill wake up in the shower and it’s all been a bad dream! Do yourself a favour and just rent the original.

Yo-Yo Diet celebrities
I’m so sick of celebrities telling us how they are comfortable being heavier and want to be a role model…..only to appear a few weeks/months later half their size on magazine covers peddling how I lost the flab stories. Mariah, Kirstie etc you know who you are!

Tammy Faye Bakker
The former disgraced evangelist, who single-handedly kept the cheap mascara business afloat, has lung cancer, if reports are to be believed, she will not be with us much longer. Tammy was an 80’s camp icon, and will be much missed. Check out the 2000 documentary The eyes of Tammy Faye to see the woman behind the mascara.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Drama Queen- This Month's Theatre

Night of the Iguana
Woody Harrelson, Jenny Seagrove & Claire Higgins
So last night it was off to the Lyric Theatre with seats so good (front row centre) we felt like extras rather than audience! To spend a very enjoyable 2 3/4hrs engrossed in the wonderful world of Tennessee Williams.
I have to say that with the exception of dreary TV show, Cheers, I have never seen any of Mr Harrelson’s work and was'nt sure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised though he’s no Olivier he can certainly act. There's something about Mr Harrelson, though he’s not classically handsome he exudes a sort of brutal sexuality which makes him very appealing and particularly suited to the the part of Shannon. (I can also report he has exquisite feet!)
Slightly frayed English Rose, Jenny (a woman of substance) Seagrove, was appropriately cast as a somewhat frayed New English spinster and managed to carry off an American accent and a character 10 years her junior with reasonable aplomb.
Claire Higgins as Maxine, though, like me, far too young to have seen the part originally played by Bette Davis, at times seemed to be almost channelling her, in a gutsy brash performance that stole the show. My one irritation with the part, lay with the appalling hair and clothes sported by Miss Higgins, whoever thought it was a good idea to dress the owner of a seedy 1940’s Mexican hotel as a housewife from High Wycombe c1992 should be shot, none of it was right and yet the rest of the cast seemed period perfect. Am I being to harsh? Maybe, but its amazing how obvious these things look from row A!
The rest of the supporting cast were capable and provided the necessary comedic relief, with a great debut by Simon Kassianides as one of Maxine’s surly staff.
The only weak spot being Nichola McAuliff who’s over the top turn belonged to musical theatre rather than straight drama and upset the balance of the play a little. A special mention should be made to Anthony Ward’s stylish and effective design. All in all, a good evening, that I would highly recommend. Tickets are still available (some at discounted prices) until 25th march.

*** Stars
Acorn Antiques
I notice with mixed feelings that the excelent, Acorn Antiques The Musical is now available on DVD. For those of us who managed to see this, limited 4 month, run last year but where forced to part with a groundbreakingly extortionate £65 for a ticket. I somewhat object to any old Riff-Raff being able to see it for a measly £13.99. My advice to the Riff-Raff? Buy it, for3 hours of over the top fun and see what all you poor people missed out on last year! Available at

*** Stars

Vanity Un-Fair

Yesterday Scarlett Johansson was named Hollywood's most natural beauty by a survey of make-up artists. I certainly agree she is definitely one of Hollywood’s prettiest gals. So how on earth did Mr Tom Ford in his Hollywood issue of Vanity Fair manage to make her look like a retarded trout?! Whilst Miss Knightley and Mr. Ford himself look dazzling poor Scarlett was obviously photographed at her worst possible angle and in a freak optical illusion appears to have lost any semblance of a chin (and grown an overly wide neck!). The photographers then retouched parts of her so much that in parts it is more of a painting than a photograph. This is especially true of her feet which, with over airbrushing, appear to have become webbed stumps. What a terrible injustice to "Hollywood’s most natural beauty"

Monday, March 13, 2006

Aretha Franklin-Natural Woman?

WHEN she sang about respect for the first time in 1967, Aretha Franklin was a svelte brunette. Forty years on, she is almost unrecognisable. In a blonde wig, spilling out of a low-cut gown, a much larger Queen of Soul appeared at a gala dinner in Washington on Friday. And Franklin couldn't be happier. For the first time, she says, the real Aretha is on stage -- a "big woman" who loves her food. She added "I definitely was never meant to be a model type walking down a runway” Well you’re certainly not that Aretha!….more like a jumbo jet taxiing on a runway!

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Some of what I'm reading this Month

Brando Unzipped
A hugely controversial biography of this cinema icon promises to be the most revealing yet. With candour, the author unveils the details of that ongoing disaster that Brando called "my life." The mysteries that enveloped the late superstar Marlon Brando are unwrapped and exposed in a richly anecdotal "warts-and-all" biography. Each of the people Porter interviewed, including many of Brando's lovers - both male and female - had a different story to tell. His lovers were as mercurial as his own personality. They included Doris Duke, and Burt Lancaster. The true story of his explosive relationships with Elizabeth Taylor and Frank Sinatra is printed for the first time, as is an array of friendships and/or feuds with such unlikely figures as Richard Burton, Charlie Chaplin, and Michael Jackson. The biography's most controversial chapter spins around Brando's incestuous relationship with his teenaged daughter, Cheyenne. The same animalistic intensity that Brando brought to the screen lives again within the pages of this biography filled with photographs. From sex symbol of the 1950s to a swollen, overweight old man who became a tabloid scandal in the 90s, Brando was one of filmdom's true originals.
My Thoughts
Whilst I find biographies that gloss over their subjects queer past this book goes totally the other way and whilst it presents us with a hugely detailed and titilating account of Brando's colourful sex life, it doesnt cover much else. So much so, you wonder how Mr brando was ever out of bed long enough to garner the reputation he had as an outstanding Actor. However it has to be said the gossip is juicy and the revelations on occasion genuinely shocking, dont go looking for any kind of analysis of Mr Brando's work though, that is, not outside of the bedroom.
*** Stars

Summer Crossing
Grady beautiful, rich, flame-haired, defiant is the sort of girl people stare at across a room. The daughter of an important man, who people want to be introduced to. A girl to whom people sense something is going to happen.
My Thoughts
This Truman Capote's first novel, written when he was just nineteen, was never published. This was propably intentional on Trumans part, this "dry run" of Breakfast at Tiffany's sees a character not unlike Holly but nowhere near as well drawn, and whilst the plot is personable the style is trying far too hard to be clever, with over complicated sentences which owe more to showing off than moving the story along. Maybe Im being harsh had this been written by anyone else i might have overlooked the flaws. If nothing else it's a fascinating look at how a writer develops when put into context and compared with his later work.
*** Stars
* Star-Dont put this book down, throw it as hard as you can out of the nearest window.
** Stars-Yawn.... bit of a dud
*** Stars-Not bad, but no masterpiece
**** Stars-A Ripping yarn definately worth killing a few hours with
***** Stars-Couldnt put it down! an instant classic