Saturday, August 31, 2013

"...Here In The Real World...."

Pregnancy in the celebrity news today.

Hang on.

Don't start tweeting and Facebooking just yet.


(CNN) -- Country superstar Alan Jackson is famous alright, but that didn't help his 20-year-old daughter, Alexandra, when she was arrested on Wednesday.

According to Metro Nashville Police, Alexandra was charged with assault, underage consumption of alcohol, and resisting arrest during a traffic stop. The 20-year-old was riding shotgun in a Range Rover that a police officer observed was speeding, and when the officer pulled the car over, it was discovered that Alexandra "had consumed a large amount of alcohol."
Police say Alexandra became "visibly irate" while the officer spoke with the driver of the vehicle, and began making demands as she got out of the car.
The officer requested that she return to the vehicle, but according to police that only angered Alexandra more. After being threatened with the possibility of being arrested if she didn't get back inside the car, Alexandra struck the officer in his chest.
When police tried to arrest her and take her into custody, she put up enough of a fight to require the officer to call for backup. Alexandra eventually complied with the arrest, but police say that while she was being booked she "made several statements to the arresting officer" that her dad Alan Jackson "would do anything" she wanted him to do.
Police then warned Alexandra about making or attempting to bribe an officer. She's next due in court on September 23.
As of now, Alan Jackson's reps have no comment.
The comments from the peanut gallery in assorted news sites where this story appears run along predictable lines.
Some people think that if her father was local plumber Alan Jackson we wouldn't be reading and hearing about this little episode.
Probably not.
Local plumbers don't often get nearly the press the country singers do.
More's the pity, if you ask me, given that they often make about the same amount of money.
Some people are filled with "predictions" of how the Jackson family will handle this, ranging from "oh, it's just a stupid kid thing that will blow over" to "her daddy will dress her down in public and teach her a lesson she'll never forget".
Personally, I fall on the side of who the hell knows?
And, in the bigger picture, who the hell cares?
That said, we all know that the answer to the first question is "we don't know, until we do, if we ever do".
And the answer to the second question is "pretty much everybody".
Because this isn't a story about the drunken misbehavior of the kid of a local plumber, but the story of drunken misbehavior of the kid of a rich, country singing star.
Celebrity stuff.
And when it comes to celebrity stuff, especially the salacious type, just as with butter cream frosting, we can never, ever get enough.
Which, though, isn't at all the point of why I'm writing, and you're reading, this piece.
Here, at long last, is the point.
It seems to be a life truth that you get what you pay for.
And it also seems to be a life truth that you must "be careful what you ask for, because you're just liable to get it."
That includes celebrity.
Alan Jackson struggled for a while in the quest to become famous.
He succeeded.
It's what he wanted, what he dreamed of, what he hoped to achieve in his life.
Again, succeeded.
Very often, in situations like this, someone, somewhere, be it actual family or loyal representatives of same, ask, in one public way or another, for "privacy as we deal with this family matter."
That, obviously, ain't gonna happen.
But, here's a thing.
It's nobody's fault that it ain't gonna happen, but there is a reason.
A good reason.
All achieved after hopes, dreams and struggles paid off.
And the thing about spotlights is that they are, of the things inside their circle, incapable of distinguishing those which should be illuminated from those that should not.
Rising tide lifts all boats.
Spotlight lights up whatever it shines on.
None of this is by way of advocating that every little piece of every little moment of the lives of famous people should be exposed, laid bare, exploited, pick your tabloid goal.
But asking for, let alone expecting, privacy when something happens along like Alexandra Jane getting faced and poking the police is, at some level, asking for, even expecting, to have it both ways.
Nobody gets to have it both ways.
Not even rich, famous people.
The celebrity spotlight, unlike its real life draw your attention to the latest shopping center opening counterpart, does not have a working on/off switch.
When you're a Jet, you're a Jet all the way.
And when you're famous, you, and yours, live in the limelight.
Okay, now, a dash of perspective.
The kid didn't leak national secrets to Wikipedia.
She didn't sext pictures of herself to a boyfriend while running for mayor of New York.
And she most certainly didn't do anything even remotely resembling twerking with teddy bears.
God love her and bless her for that, by the way.
Alexandra Jane Jackson is simply the latest in a long, long line of celebrity offspring who have suddenly discovered that it might be okay to dance like there's nobody watchin' but you gotta be aware that somebody just might be watchin'.
And dance accordingly.
Or prepare to be blinded by the light.
Because, much as those who struggled to move from blissful obscurity to world wide fame would like to believe, there, at least so far, is no such thing as a part time limelight.
It's like being a little bit pregnant.
Tweet that.

" Edgy and Skanky.....Talk About Your Blurred Lines....."

Enough is enough.

Comes a time when further Miley bashing is overkill.

So, this will be the last word, from here, at least, on it.

Here's what I suspect Miley thought she looked like to the masses.

When, in fact, here's what she actually looked like.
(Scroll down)

Enough already.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

"And Speaking of Tongues, Gene Simmons, Come Home...All Is Forgiven...."

At this point, obviously, she "can't be tamed".
Tranquilizer darts are probably not practical.
And euthanasia is probably a little extreme.
Unless we self inflict so as to put ourselves out of any misery resulting from further "artistry".
Still, I can't shake the notion that most of us are missing a key point in all of this.
Editor's note: Kelly Wallace is CNN's digital correspondent and editor-at-large covering family, career and life. She's a mom of two girls and lives in Manhattan. Read her other columns and follow her reports at CNN Parents and on Twitter.

(CNN) -- My list of reasons why I'm glad my girls, ages 5 and 7, were too young to ever get into "Hannah Montana" grew exponentially longer after Miley Cyrus' unforgettable "twerking" in a bra and undies at MTV's Video Music Awards.

"Miley, what exactly were you thinking?" pretty much sums up the sentiment I heard from outraged moms and dads around the country who believe Cyrus, whose loyal fan base includes a huge chunk not yet old enough to drive, should know better.
"It's a damn shame that Miley is doing this to herself, making a vulgar joke out of her talents and her beauty, but it's a much bigger shame that she's doing it to her young fans and other young people (who) see her in the media," said Heidi Cardenas, a mom of two teenage boys, in response to a request for comment on CNN's Facebook page.
"It's the same thing as going to any street corner in America and selling herself for money," said Cardenas.
"I have to instantly think that Miley does not either a) care what her younger fans think of her or b) hasn't even bothered to think of what her actions (are) doing to her image," said Larene Grady, a mom of two whose tween was "absolutely infatuated" with Cyrus but isn't anymore.

She thinks Miley does not appeal to children (who) used to like her as 'Hannah Montana,' which speaks volumes coming from a 10-year-old who had two 'Hannah Montana' parties, everything from bed sheets, pajamas, bath soaps, toothbrushes and book bags," Grady added, also in response to a tout on CNN's Facebook page

"Hannah Montana" seems about as relevant to the current day Cyrus as a typewriter is to millenials.
The 20-year-old has every right to chart a new course beyond her Disney days, moms and dads said in comments on Facebook and exchanges via e-mail. It's just that the path she is choosing seems so wrong and dangerous, many said.
Sonia Prince of Nashua, New Hampshire, said her kids -- ages 9, 12 and 13 -- will no longer be listening to Cyrus' music. "There is enough fantastic music out there with people who have respectful behavior, especially women who don't feel the need to be sexual in public in order to be successful," she added.
Cyrus' choice to wear next to nothing and strut around the VMA stage is yet another example, frustrated parents say, of the sexualization of our young girls, an issue we touched on at just a few weeks ago in our piece on how too many tween fashions are too sexy, skimpy and short.
"I do think Miley wrongly represents the way girls should act today," said Steve, a CNN commenter who shared his first name and the fact that he has a 12-year-old granddaughter.
"The way they dress, act, not caring about how other people may respond to your actions," Steve added. "I think it is an oversexualization of young girls/young women."
Robin Belkin, a mom of three in Northern California, believes Cyrus' performance only adds to the already "damaging image of women-as-sex-objects."
"I just find it extremely discouraging and difficult to hold out hope for the improved status of women in this world when even the most entitled among us so negatively reinforce the worst stereotypes and misogynistic attitudes about women," said Belkin.
"Her behavior sets 50 to 60 years of women's forward progress back a long way when you consider that her huge fan base really only consists of young and impressionable girls and horny young boys, who, unfortunately on many levels, are our future leaders," said John Rodrigues of Boston, in response to a request for comment on CNN's Facebook page.

"Growing up under the impression that this behavior is not only OK, but acceptable, is such a terrible message and, in this case, I am happy I'm not a father trying to keep this away from my children," the 35-year-old single Army veteran added.
Eric Solomon, a father of two, watched the VMAs with his 15-year-old son. "I am so embarrassed and sitting next to my son and watching this happen made me even more embarrassed," he added.
Solomon said he has conversations with his sons about what's right and what's wrong, and said that they know Cyrus' performance was "not appropriate" and not the behavior of "your normal woman."
Mary Hogan of Cordova, Tennessee, doesn't have kids but works in education and says parents have a role to play.
"Parents need to explain to their kids that what she did is not OK, and should not be imitated," said Hogan, adding that parents who didn't like what they were seeing should have changed the channel.
"I think the biggest responsibility for a parent is to know what their kids are watching," said Mark Edwards of suburban St. Louis, who has three teenage sons. "The VMAs aren't appropriate for kids under a certain age and if some parents feel discomfort over what was aired, should they have been letting their kids watch the show in the first place?"
"The VMAs are supposed to be shocking," said a woman who did not want to be identified. "Why is Miley Cyrus such a big deal? ... I am more shocked people are watching the VMAs with their children."
After all, consider VMA highlights of years past when Lady Gaga donned a dress made entirely of raw meat and Madonna and Britney Spears kissed (mouths open!). It was, in fact, at the VMAs years earlier when Madonna broke out onto the national stage with her "Like a Virgin" performance.
Cyrus "took a page straight out of Madonna's playbook," said Ivan Baker, a father in New York City, on Facebook. "I guess I am jaded. Not very impressed or shocked."
While much of the online conversation post-Cyrus' national "twerking" episode was dominated by criticism, there was also a very motherly and fatherly response, parents who worry that Cyrus is a child in need of serious help.
"It's clear that Miley Cyrus' lifestyle as a young woman is expressing pain and is dealing with emotional problems," said Andrew Thompson, an engaged father of two boys in Country Club Hills, Illinois.
"Her mother and father have a responsibility to come to her aid and work out these social issues before it's too late," he added.
Some parents said there was only one upside they could see from the blistering reaction to Cyrus' performance and that is that it may show strength.

"The fact that she doesn't play the victim and shows that girls can be as aggressive and bad in many ways might in some twisted way pave the way for (women) to play in a more level field with men," said Leigh Bordbar, a mom of two from Toronto who said she was personally disappointed with what Cyrus did at the VMAs. "In her performance, she seemed like the one in control and in the driver's seat, which sets her apart from the ways that perhaps Playboy or fashion models portray women."
Nicky Calvert, a mom of two in Marietta, Ohio, sees another positive.
"There is only one good thing that I can say about her performance on the VMAs," said Calvert. It shows her 9-year-old how she "should never act in public."
May I repeat how happy I am my girls missed this one completely.


The argument that MTV's VMA's are "traditionally" a venue for outrageous behavior is both correct and unfortunate.

Using that logic, we should shrug our shoulders at the activities that took place at Birkenau and Auschwitz during World War II.

After all, the ovens were the "traditional" venue for that kind of behavior.

Yes, drawing a parallel between the horrors of the Holocaust and the ha ha ha of Miley Cyrus' "performance" is, at best, insensitive and overstating the case and, at worst, terribly offensive.

I agree with the former and apologize for the latter.

But, let's get back to that sticky wicket of an overlooked point that I alluded to earlier.

Outrageous behavior, especially in the hallowed halls of rock and roll, is not only a time honored tradition, it's practically a pre-requisite to membership in the club.

And every generation since Bill Haley and his Comets streaked their way into the collective consciousness has feared that said outrageous behavior came packaged only in a signature series handbasket in which modern civilization would almost certainly be carried straight off to hell.

In the fifties, it was Elvis and his pelvis.

In the sixties, it was Mick and...well, his pelvis.

In the seventies, it was disco.

Not so much outrageous behavior as a cleverly concealed conspiracy aiming to drive us all to shove knitting needles into our brains via our ears.

And, in the eighties?

Like a virgin, my ass.

So, Miley and her twerking tirade could be, and in some quarters is being, written off to this generation's pelvis presentation.

But here's the thing.

And the aforementioned point.

Sixty years after Elvis, we watch his gyrations and feel a sense of nostalgia and, even, a little silliness that a little bend and flex could have bent so many people out of shape.

Fifty years after Mick, well, Mick is still out there, pelvis and all, filling stadiums with the kids and grandkids of those who were convinced that the end of the world was "just a shot away / just a shot away".

Forty years after disco....

Well, some foolishly think it dead, but, hang a glitter ball in any room filled with the sounds of about half of what constitutes the Top 40 these days and see if it doesn't illuminate the thin line between being "born this way" and "stayin alive / stayin alive".

And as for Madge?

Still exposing a nipple every now and then, though the sight line to catch a peek has angled down a few degrees since the heyday.

Which will bring us back to do, re, Miley.

And her "edgy" performance.


Fifty years from now, people will You Tube Elvis and feel a sense of nostalgia and even a little silliness.

Likewise, Mick, Barry, Robin, Maurice...

And Madonna.

And people will laugh at themselves for thinking any of it was anything more, or less, than the outrageous behavior that is a pre-requisite for membership in the club.

Fifty years from now, though, when we laugh at Miley and her bear-y bit of show business booty banging...

We won't be laughing at ourselves.

We'll still be laughing at her.

Because although they both end in "ous", there's a pretty obvious and established line between...


And ridiculous.

One provokes outrage that fades with the passage of time.

The other provokes ridicule.

That lasts a lifetime.

Miley Cyrus apparently, and desperately, wants to be remembered in the same breath as Elvis and Mick and Madonna and Gaga.

It's a better bet that, at the rate she's going, she'll end up being more likely compared with another entertainment favorite.

Judy Miller.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

"Faithless Love, And Life's Speedbumps, Like A River Flow..."

Leave it to me.

I read about Linda Ronstadt and the first thing that popped into my head was Seinfeld.

Stand by.

Legendary singer Linda Ronstadt, 67, told AARP today that she “can’t sing a note” because she suffers from Parkinson’s disease. Diagnosed eight months ago, Ronstadt began to show symptoms as long as eight years ago. But she ascribed her inability to sing to a tick bite (“my health has never recovered since then”), and believed the shaking in her hands resulted from shoulder surgery.

In a wide-ranging interview with AARP’s music writer Alanna Nash to be published on next week, Ronstadt revealed how she discovered that “there was something wrong” with her voice.

“I couldn’t sing,” she told Nash, “and I couldn’t figure out why. I knew it was mechanical. I knew it had to do with the muscles, but I thought it might have also had something to do with the tick disease that I had. And it didn’t occur to me to go to a neurologist. I think I’ve had it for seven or eight years already, because of the symptoms that I’ve had. Then I had a shoulder operation, so I thought that’s why my hands were trembling.

“Parkinson’s is very hard to diagnose, so when I finally went to a neurologist and he said, ‘Oh, you have Parkinson’s disease,’ I was completely shocked. I wouldn’t have suspected that in a million, billion years.

“No one can sing with Parkinson’s disease,” Ronstadt said. “No matter how hard you try.”

Ronstadt walks with the aid of poles when on uneven ground, and uses a wheelchair when she travels.

Although Ronstadt’s new memoir, Simple Dreams, will appear on September 17, it does not discuss her diagnosis, or the loss of her voice.

Ronstadt, who dated high profile men such as California Gov. Jerry Brown and George Lucas, helped shape the folk-rock music scene of the late 1960s and early 1970s. She started as lead singer of the Stone Poneys, then went on to achieve fame as a solo performer. She has earned 11 Grammy Awards, two Academy of Country Music awards, and an Emmy. Her albums have gone gold, platinum and multi-platinum.

First of all, I should do my choir boy best to insist that I really don't have a glib attitude about this new challenge in Ronstadt's life.

So, I really don't have a glib attitude about this new challenge in Ronstadt's life.

That said...

"AARP music writer"Alanna Nash (and, not for nothin', but given her considerable resume, calling her "AARP music writer Alanna Nash" is, factually, correct but on the same props level with saying, for example, "Yellow Submarine co-writer Paul McCartney")is a Facebook friend and a lot of the comments going back on her forth on her FB page are, understandably, filled with expressions of sympathy, regret, loss, et al.

And while it would be, at best, inappropriate and, at worst, presumptuous and insulting for me to offer up any possible opinion on what Ronstadt is personally feeling at this life crossroads, I can't help but think there's just a smidge more drama in all of this than called for by the circumstances and that, perhaps, even Ronstadt, herself, is inclined to dial said drama down a digit or two.

Cause, here's a thing.

She has, by her own choice and for all intents and purposes, been semi, if not fully, retired from professional singing for, at least, a few years now.

She has made it very clear in interviews that she appreciates the fame and fortune that her abilities afforded her but she was ready to comfortably transition from singing star to single mom, a life that obviously bloomed where planted, given that her two adopted children are now young adults themselves, seemingly healthy, both physically and emotionally.

And while there's no doubt that a physical issue like Parkinson's will play a substantial role in her life for the years that remain, she is on the gently nudging it side of seventy years old now and, I suspect, proud of what was, but confidently looking forward to what is yet to be, in whatever form that might take.

At this writing, Alanna's full interview with Ronstadt is a day away from publication on the AARP website, so, by this time tomorrow, one of two things will be apparent.

I'll look like the right fool for this piece after we read that Ronstadt is devastated by the diagnosis as she was looking forward to singing continuing to be the centerpiece of her life for many years to come.

Or we'll all respect and appreciate her humanness, from here on out, as much, or more, as we have appreciated her singing talent since the late 1960's.

Because, it will turn out, that, by her own choice and for all intents and purposes, she had pretty much already said everything she ever wanted to publicly say.

Or sing.

And, the physical challenges that lie ahead for her not withstanding or inconsiderable, it almost feels like there's a little win/win here.

She has successfully lived life on her own terms and will continue to do so.

And the "loss" of her physical ability to sing doesn't dampen or damage a single one of the hundreds, even thousands,  of recordings of that gift that we, and future generations, will enjoy timelessly.

In an episode of Seinfeld, Elaine dates a guy who shaves his head for his swimming needs.

She happens across on old driver's license pic that show his full, lustrous head of hair.

She coyly convinces him to grow his hair back for her.

He discovers, to his dismay, that in the years since he started his shaving his full, lustrous head of hair, he has, in fact, started to go bald.

And freaks out.

I don't know Linda Ronstadt.

But something tells me that she's got spunk.

The kind of spunk that will carry her into the remaining chapters of her life with the same spirit of adventure and accomplishment that has made her a household name since 1967.

Her singing voice is gone.

But she pretty much stopped using it some time ago.

And I obviously can't know, but I suspect that she's not as freaked out as Elaine's boyfriend.

Bet nobody else thought of that.

Leave it to me.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

"...Hey, Spud, You Gotta Lotta Balls Callin This Derivative, Vapid, Shallow Uninspired Crap We're Cranking Out Deriviatve, Vapid, Shallow and Uninspired...."

Pop quiz.

If Tom Petty was a natural disaster, he would be a(n)

  a) Tornado
  b) Hurricane
  c) Earthquake

Place your bets. Correct answer coming up.

Jake Owen is a fan of Tom Petty. The singer says he’s long called his fellow Floridian an influence, but after hearing the rocker’s comments about country music, he had to take a step back.

Owen becomes the latest to rebuke Petty after hearing of the May venting which made headlines this month after Petty talked about it to Rolling Stone. “It’s unfortunate that he’d make a ridiculous, uneducated comment like that about a format he’s not even a part of,” Owen said during an interview on SiriusXM radio.

Petty called today’s country music “bad rock with a fiddle” during a concert in New York City. He added later, “Most of that music reminds me of rock in the middle ’80s where it became incredibly generic and relied on videos.”

“First off, why?” Owen asks. “That bums me out a little bit … but everybody makes ignorant comments from time to time.”

“My dad always said there’s an a– for every seat so if you don’t like it, get out,” Owen continues.

The country singer says he’s still a fan of Petty, but it’s clear the rocker upset him. Earlier, Chris Stapleton responded to Petty’s comments by asking him to “put your money where your mouth is” and join him in a collaboration. The open letter to Tom Petty came across as tongue-in-cheek, although if Petty agrees to record with him, Stapleton seems likely to accept.

Owen's two cents (or two bits, in a more country music parlance) on this issue is just the first of what will, inevitably, be a lot of piling on amongst the good, true and faithful of country music, both performers and performees. (or party crowd, in a more country music parlance).

For several obvious reasons, the most obvious of them being, of course, that people, as a rule, don't usually like to be told that what they do/like/believe in/admire/appreciate/etc. is shit.

Seems reasonable enough.

As for the issue at the core of the discussion, the lament that contemporary country music is lacking something inherent to quality country music, well, the simple, unavoidable truth is that one man's trash is another man's top ten.

And, just as with so many things in current culture that seem, on the surface, to be, at best, regrettable, at worst, repulsive, there is an undeniable, if unavoidable, truth lurking just beneath the surface of any debate that aims to demean, damage or other wise dispatch said regrettable and/or repulsive amongst us.

Millions and millions of people spend millions and millions of dollars to experience them.

And, as one of my own favorite songsmiths, Randy Newman, so eloquently offered up a few albums  back, "It's Money That Matters."

Personally, I've already plowed this ground.

Here's the link to that lamentation.

And while we're at it, here's a link to a very well thought out, thoughtful treatise on the tempest, from a fellow traveler on the boulevard of blog.

And, as a special value added for readers of my work here, a new tune from up and comer Wade Bowen that not only touches on the topic, but shows Nashville's state of the art ability to cash in on whatever water cooler cackle is front and center, even if the cackle is criticism of Nashville's state of the art ability.

Passions, ponders and pontifications aside, the discussion is, at center, a waste of time.

What sells will continue to be produced.

Until it doesn't sell anymore and then something else that sells will be produced.

As it has been and ever shall be, forever and ever, amen.

A lot of people still find it repulsive that Velveeta could ever be remotely compared to real cheese.

But a lot of people still buy a lot of Velveeta.

And a lot of people still buy a lot of what Nashville is cranking out.

As for the articulate, if somewhat ungracious, Mr. Petty, the answer to the opening pop quiz should be, I would think, a no brainer.

Given that he essentially labeled everyone who performs and/or enjoys contemporary country music an idiot.

The correct answer is...

 b) Hurricane

If you picked either a) or c), it's understandable.

Both are phenomena that do their fair share of hell raising.

The key difference being that, of the three, the hurricane is the one that best represents Tom Petty's comments on country.

Because, of the three, the hurricane is the only one whose noise, power and potential for stirring up shit can be seen coming miles and miles down the road.

This particular firestorm could be seen approaching the moment Mr. Petty opened his mouth.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

"...Even TMZ Will Have To Google..."

 A life of eighty four years.

A successful marriage of more than fifty years

A successful show business career of nearly sixty years.

And there's a pretty good chance that you've never heard of her.

Ironically, that's a good thing.

(CNN) -- Singer Eydie Gorme, who enjoyed decades-long success as half of the duo Steve & Eydie and as a solo artist in her own right, has died. She was 84.

She is best known in the English-speaking world for her 1963 Grammy-nominated "Blame it on the Bossa Nova." In the Spanish-speaking market, Gorme's major hit was 1964's "Amor."
Gorme died Saturday in Las Vegas after a brief illness, her publicist said -- without disclosing what had ailed her.
Her husband Steve Lawrence, her son and other family members were by her side at the time.
"Eydie has been my partner on stage and in life for more than 55 years. I fell in love with her the moment I saw her and even more the first time I heard her sing," Lawrence said.

"While my personal loss is unimaginable, the world has lost one of the greatest pop vocalists of all time."
Gorme was born in New York on August 16, 1928 to Sephardic Jewish parents.
Her father, Nessim Garmezano, was a tailor from Sicily whose last name -- as was the norm at the time -- was changed by customs officers at Ellis Island when he arrived in the United States.
Gorme began singing straight out of high school with various big bands. But her big break came after she auditioned for, and joined, "The Tonight Show" in 1953.
There, for $90 a week, she sang solos and sang duets with the up-and-coming Steve Lawrence.
"I mean, she could sing with me, with Andy Williams, Placido Domingo," Lawrence told CNN's "Larry King Live" in 2003, commenting on Gorme's three-octave range. "She could sing with just about anybody."
The two performed on the show for five years, and married in 1957.
"I just fell madly in love with him," Gorme said in the same interview.
After their "Tonight Show" stint, the pair had a short-lived TV show of their own, "The Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme Show."
Then, Lawrence entered the Army -- leaving Gorme, a new mother, to frequent the night club circuit on her own.
"I was traveling and working alone while he was in the Army and taking my baby with me everyplace, and it was very difficult," Gorme said.
Two years later when Lawrence was discharged, the couple came to a decision.
"I said, 'Either I'm going to quit and just stay home and be a housewife,'" Gorme said, "'Or maybe we should, I don't know, try and get something ...'"
"We started working together out of necessity," Lawrence added.
Their career took off, with audiences drawn to their penchant for the classics in favor of rock 'n' roll -- as well as their spontaneous banter.
"Well, we never rehearsed the first night," Gorme said.
"No, we never did. We never did. And we still don't," Lawrence said.
Their two boys -- David and Michael -- traveled with them. Gorme would, in her words, "hotel school" them.
When Michael Lawrence was 23, he died of ventricular fibrillation, a heart condition.
"It was very hard for all of us, but it's still very hard," Gorme said.
"You don't deal with it, you just go on as best you can. And fortunately, we all held on," Lawrence said.
For a year, the pair mourned. Then they decided to go back on tour, with their surviving son David joining them on stage on the piano.
The pair continued touring well into the 2000s.
During their long career, they toured with Frank Sinatra, threw the first pair of dice in Atlantic City and recorded a lounge version of Soundgarden's grunge classic "Black Hole Sun."
"I'm very thankful that Eydie and I, not only do we have a great love, and a great friendship," Lawrence said.
In addition to her husband and son, Gorme is survived by her granddaughter.
Services are pending and will be private.
Every generation has its own circle of celebrities.
That's only natural.
Sometimes, their fame and/or the accomplishment lifts one to a level of familiarity that makes their particular celebrity, for lack of a better term, timeless.
Not everyone, for example, knows the name Ramon Navarro.
But he was, to the movie audiences of the 1920's and 1930's, what George Clooney is to the movie audiences of today.
And, current popularity notwithstanding, it's entirely possible that eighty or ninety years from now, few people will know the name George Clooney.
That's okay.
Not everyone can be Humphrey Bogart.
Eydie Gorme was of the celebrity circle best known to my parents generation, first, because she was literally of that generation, born in the 1920's.
Also because her limelight shown most brightly in the 1950's and 1960's, the years just after my grandparents admired and enjoyed, say, Al Jolson and just prior to the years my generational peers and I admired and enjoyed The Beatles.
It's a sure bet were you to ask people to identify Eydie Gorme today, the larger number of people would be unable, those few that might take a shot at it would likely miss by varying degrees.
"Eydie Gorme, oh, yeah, wasn't she that singer they called the Velvet Fog or something?"
No, that was Mel Torme'.
"Oh, yeah, didn't she have that cooking show on TV way back in the seventies?"
No, that was the Galloping Gourmet.
"Oh, yeah, she's the one that invented that ice cream."
Uh, no. That was a different Edy.
The point of all this is that its perfectly understandable that the majority of today's average Jane and Joes wouldn't recognize who Eydie Gorme was any more than my generation recognized Ramon Navarro.
That was then, this is now.
Here's a thing, though.
In a modern day culture overflowing with celebrities more infamous than famous, more notorious than noteworthy, more sensationalistic than sensational, there is a poignancy and not just a little irony to the fact that very few people will, in fact, know who she was.
Because, in the light of this modern day culture, what she accomplished was remarkable.
A life of eighty four years.

A successful marriage of more than fifty years

A successful show business career of nearly sixty years.

And such a lack of infamy, notoriety and sensationalism that there's a pretty good chance you've never heard of her.

Somehow, I can't help but think that, sixty years from now, people will still recognize the names Lohan.

Or Kanye.

Or Kardashian.

And that's a sad thing.

While today, most people don't recognize the name Eydie Gorme'.

And, ironically, that's a good thing.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

"....Or How About 'Jaws One Of Those Things'?...."

Here's two names you probably don't often think of connecting.

William Shakespeare.

The Syfy Channel.

Allow me.

"A dangerous weather phenomenon featuring large groups of fish with cartilaginous skeletons, five to seven gill slits on the sides of the head, and pectoral fins that are not fused to the any other name.."

The Twitter-verse has spoken. And Syfy listened.

The cable channel asked fans to pitch names for the Sharknado sequel.

The winning title is rather perfect. Here it is:

Sharknado 2: The Second One.

“Since Twitter played such a huge role in the success of the original movie, we wanted to use that platform to ask our fans to name Sharknado 2,” says Thomas Vitale, executive vp of programming at Syfy.. “This response is another reminder of how Sharknado has become a pop culture phenomenon. We want to thank all our viewers for their wonderful contributions to keeping up the shark-mentum.”

The title was selected by Syfy from more than 5,000 submissions via Twitter.

Sharknado 2: The Second One, which like the social media smash original film will be produced by The Asylum, arrives July, 2014.

In a culture blatantly oversaturated with moronic presentations masquerading as cutting edge satire and/or entertainment, the success of "Sharknado" deserves recognition on a number of levels.

Not the least of which is its willingness, even eagerness, to present, and promote, itself as nothing more, or less, than exactly what it is.

Foolishness, even absurdity, fully aware of its foolishness, even absurdity, and laughing at itself, at all times, no less than a few seconds ahead of any laughing at it we are inclined to do.

Put less verbosely, stupidity that recognizes, and celebrates, just how stupid it really is.

As opposed to, say, for example, "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo", "Keeping Up With The Kardashians", Miley Cyrus' current hair cut, anything, musical or not, coming out of the mouths of Chris Brown, Kanye West or John Rich of Big and Rich or anything, at all, coming out of the brain, mouth or pick your bodily orifice of Seth MacFarlane.

Stupidity that simply refuses to take the all important first step on the road to recovery of recognizing itself as stupidity.

By the way, I added Rich to that list because I think it fair and just to say that, in many ways, country music has grown as an industry and pretty much come into its own as an equal partner in the world of show business.

Which is, of course, to say that there's as many talentless morons there as there are anywhere.

Meanwhile, there's the genius that is "Sharknado".

And the satirical spawn of said genius that will be "Sharknado 2".

As for the name, I agree that "The Second One" is appropriately stupid.

In a very good way.

A week or so ago, I made mention of the forthcoming sequel on the daily podcast ("The Daily Boomer" available at www. and suggested, half seriously and half tongue in cheek in order to segue into the classic Doors song that they should title the sequel, "Sharknado 2- Riders on the Storm"......

After that, I went perusing the ol' interweb to check out what others were offering in the way of ideas.

And found some pretty funny suggestions.

Or finny, as the case may be.

"Shark and Awe"

"The Towering Sharkferno"

"Sharks On A Plane"

And, of course, the obvious spins on other weather phenomena




and, my favorite of that ilk...


Spelled with the T, to boot.

 Well, I think I was on to something using a well known song to tie it all together, if only because it would give the movie even more campy relevance, but also provide a title song for the soundtrack CD which any savvy marketer will tell you is a must have when it comes to successful movies.

And even those not so successful.

Show of hands. How many of you own the soundtrack CD to "Glitter" if only because it has Mariah Carey singing on it?


So, although the choice of a title seems to be a fait accompli at this point, or a bait accompli, as the case may be, I still feel it a duty, of sorts, to offer a few last minute suggestions for songs that might fit the bill, or snout, as the case may be, and provide hours of musical enjoyment long after the movie shows up on the 99 cent Budget DVD table at Wal Mart.

"Sharknado 2.........

".......Sea Of Love......."

"......Let's Twist Again...."

"....The Wayward Wind...."

"....Too Many Fish In The Sea...."

"....C'mon Let's Swim...."

"....What Have They Done To The Rain...."

and, use it now or forever regret your missing the boat, there, Hollywood.....

"Sharknado 2...Mackie's Back In Town...."

Obviously, all of these ideas are pretty stupid.

As are Sharknado and the forthcoming sequel.

And "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo", "Keeping Up With The Kardashians", Miley Cyrus' current hair cut, anything, musical or not, coming out of the mouths of Chris Brown, Kanye West or John Rich of Big and Rich or anything, at all, coming out of the brain, mouth or pick your bodily orifice of Seth MacFarlane.

The difference between em?

That's what Sharknado was shootin' for in the first place.

Or fishin' for, as the case may be.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

"...Space, The Final Frontier...The Old West, The Previous Frontier..."

Old joke.

"Wow," said the girl discovering and looking through a pile of Beatles records, "Paul McCartney was in a band before Wings."

That little witty popped into my head when I heard of the passing of Michael Ansara.

(CNN) -- He struck an imposing figure as Kang, the villainous Klingon commander who struck fears in the hearts of the federation.

The man who played Kang in three iterations of "Star Trek," Michael Ansara, has died, according to his former agent.
Ansara was 91.
The veteran character actor was probably best known for playing the Klingon leader in the original "Star Trek" series, then again in the legendary sci-fi series "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" and "Star Trek: Voyager."

But he had an illustrious career beyond that, plus a personal life that included a marriage to Barbara Eden of "I Dream of Jeannie" fame and a 36-year marriage to his wife Beverly.
Ansara died Wednesday at his home in Calabasas, California, according to former agent Michael B. Druxman.
He was born in a small village in Syria, arriving in the United States with his American parents at the age of two, according to a biography provided by Druxman.
Having entered college in Los Angeles intending to be a doctor, he went into acting instead. His breakout role came as Cochise in the 1950s TV series "Broken Arrow."
Other small-screen roles included in parts in such shows as "The Untouchables," "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "Perry Mason, "Lost in Space," "Hawaii 5-0," "Murder She Wrote," "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" and his ex-wife's show, "I Dream of Jeannie." Ansara also voiced Mr. Freeze in Batman movies and the TV series.
Ansara's film credits include 1953's "Julius Caesar," "The Greatest Story Ever Told," John Wayne's "The Comancheros," "Guns of the Magnificent Seven," "The Bears and I," "The Message" and "The Guns and the Fury."
William Shatner, who played Capt. James T. Kirk on the original Star Trek, was among the many who offered condolences upon hearing of Ansara's death. So too did Eden, Ansara's former wife.
Tweeted Eden: "He was a good man, a good father & a fantastic actor who had a long and full life."
Given that it's 2013, it's perfectly understandable that the "was probably best known for" portion of this accomplished actor highlighted his three turns as the kooky Klingon Kang.
Since Star Trek is still very much a part of contemporary culture, it is, arguably, of all of Michael Ansara's work, that which, when his passing was announced, rang a bell.
Or Kang a bell, as the case may be.
And if going into the history books as a three times star of one of television and motion pictures most iconic creations was all he had to show for the 60 plus professional years of his 91 year long life, well, it would be a heck of a thing.
Or Trek of a thing, as the case may be.
For me, though, Ansara gets props for his largely unsung work tackling, through, his acting, the hot button issue of race relations, especially during the 1950's when those relations were beginning to reach critical mass in the culture and the country.
Oh, didn't know that this gifted actor was a civil rights pioneer?
Next time you're inclined to go a Wikipedia-ing in search of fun things to know and tell for show and tell and you've already filled the folders marked Rosa Parks, James Meredith, Jackie Robinson, et al, give this name a look see.
Sam Buckhart.
The character portrayed in, first, several episodes of the, again, iconic 1950's and 60's TV western, "The Rifleman" and then, shortly after, for just one short season, in another lesser known series, "Law of the Plainsman".
Here, allow me.
Law of the Plainsman is a Western television series starring Michael Ansara that aired on the NBC television network from October 1, 1959, until May 5, 1960.

The character of Native American U.S. Marshal Sam Buckhart was introduced in two episodes ("The Indian" and "The Raid") of the popular ABC Western television series The Rifleman starring Chuck Connors as Lucas McCain.

Law of the Plainsman is distinctive and unique in that it was one of the few television programs that featured a Native American as the lead character, a bold move for television at that time. Ansara had earlier appeared in the series Broken Arrow, having portrayed the Apache chief, Cochise.

Ansara played Sam Buckhart, an Apache Indian who saved the life of a U.S. Cavalry officer after an Indian ambush. When the officer died, he left Sam money that was used for an education at private schools and Harvard University. After school, he returned to New Mexico where he became a Deputy Marshal working for Marshal Andy Morrison

Looking back at this show, and this time, through the admittedly dusty fifty year old lens, might easily generate a "what's the big deal?" attitude amongst contemporary television viewers.

Let's face it, a couple of hours of Real Housewives, with a dash of Honey Boo Boo, a soupcon of American Guy, all smothered in a buffoonish frosting of anything and everything with the name Tyler Perry on it and one little piddly weekly show about a native American marshal in the old West might be medically proven to invoke a yawn or two.

But, dusty lens or not, this was fifty years ago.

A time in American history when, in terms of our entertainment, racial issues were a sleeping dog that even the most rebellious television and/or movie creative types let lie.

Or disguised in so much metaphor that only the hippest of the hip realized they were being offered a little morality underneath the melodrama.

Cue Rod Serling and several choice episodes of "The Twilight Zone".

And even well into the sixties and beyond, the race card could only be played if it was slipped into the deck with a little more metaphorical slight of hand.

Cue Gene Roddenberry and several choice episodes of the original "Star Trek".

But with "Law of the Plainsman", prime time television put racial conflict front and center, even if it was still substituting native American (then still referred to, without a moment's pause, as Indian) issues for the more radioactive African American (then still referred to, without a moment's pause, as Negro) issues.

And right there, just a big as life with conflict up to here and hair down to there, was native American United States Marshal Sam Buckhart.

Played passionately, intelligently and fearlessly by Michael Ansara.

The character, accounting for both appearances on "The Rifleman" and "Law of the Plainsman" only existed on our small screens for a total of thirty two half hour episodes, hardly enough time to generate the kind of controversy that prolonged exposure might have spawned.

But, putting those issues on the mainstream small screen in those days was a brave thing to do.

And playing the character took courage, as well.

The kind of courage that can very easily go unnoticed.

Especially when one is distracted by the blinding light of a disruptor blast fired by commander Kang of the Klingon Empire.

"Wow", said the girl discovering and going through You Tube episodes of "The Rifleman" and "Law of the Plainsman", "Michael Ansara was on TV even before "Star Trek".

Yes, as a matter of fact, he was.

As Sam Buckhart.

Bravely going where no one had gone before.