Wednesday

WMD... IEDs... Lethal Cell Phones...


Fashion hit woman Naomi Campbell, who does a star turn March 13 for Chicago's FashionLive, said today that she wouldn't consider herself "angry." She's just "very emotional..." (Isn't this about the same thing?) And interestingly, sweet Naomi says she travels with five cell phones... FIVE cell phones? Talk about an arms build-up!

To quote Avant News, whose clever piece mocks the announcement of a Naomi "signature assault phone" deal with Motorola:

"How many other companies can offer a high-tech, really snazzy personal
communications device that can also be used as a combat projectile at close
quarters?" said Col. Wolverine Jack, a procurement officer with the Pentagon.
"The sooner we can get these in the hands of our troops, the safer they can
feel..."
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Sunday

Martini Mix: The Oscars


Beyonce and Jennifer Hudson sing 'Listen' and other Dreamgirls hits at the 2007 Oscars *Mon congrats JENNIFER HUDSON, Chi-town's own!!! But what was up with all the boobage? Lovely gown, but take a breath too deep and an Oscars wardrobe malfunction could occur. Add three more of these sculpted boulders, and it'll seem the dead prez's of Mount Rushmore rose to the occasion.

* This dress of Beyonce's was adorable. It was interesting, though, hearing her re-calibrate her singing, seemingly to ensure that Jennifer didn't show her up. Check out a different -- quite telling -- photo of an eye-popped, hard-singing Beyonce at Clay Cane's blog.

* This was the best Oscars production I can recall, thanks to producer Laura Ziskin. It didn't feel longer to me than usual. For a change, it (mostly) kept my attention.

* Ellen was great, as expected. Favorite line, when discussing the diversity of this year's Awards: "If there weren't blacks, jews and gays, there would be no Oscars... Nor anyone named "Oscar." Also liked how comfortably she dressed. Those spats were kicking!

* Vogue magazine's Andre Leon Tally was ab-fab as a red carpet fashion correspondent. He certainly knows more about fashion than anyone. Hope to see a lot more of him on TV... but not dressed quite like this shot from New York Fashion Week...
Vogue magazine's fashion and style arbiter Andre Leon Tally* Eddie Murphy with Tracy Edmonds? I didn't know...

* Thought I'd miss seeing some Super Bowl-caliber ads! But the Oscars' wonderful opening montage -- a stark, long-form video resembling a Gap ad and featuring a slew of people in the industry -- was the best "commercial" all night.

Pilobus dance troupe was one of the most out-of-the-box touches at the 2007 Oscars * Pilobolus: Awesome dance troupe delivering several grand performances. They contorted and piled upon each other to form huge silhouettes themed with hit movie titles. This photo? Happy Feet, of course!
Will Farrell at the Oscars, should have sung Funky Nassau with that hair
* Why was Will Farrell wearing the Diahann Carroll wig? Or was that hair-do meant as a nod to...?
Annie, the Broadway musical * Cutest "animated shorts" at the Kodak Theater: Jaden Christopher Cyrus Smith and Little Miss Sunshine. Jaden's famous mom and pop, Will and Jada Smith, looked like regular, nervous parents in the audience -- praying their kid would do well alone on-stage.
Will Smith with Jack Nicholson at the 2007 Oscars * Why, exactly, did Djimoun Hounsou have on sunglasses indoors? Then, Merle Streep? And good grief, what were those about worn by Jack Nicholson? Did they party together after the show, the Three Blind Mice? Hope this "sunglasses at night" look isn't making a come-back.

* Priceless: Ellen telling Spielberg to do-over her snap shot with Clint Eastwood, because he didn't get it right/balanced the first time. Imagine that. Someone on the Planet has the nerve to tell The Master that he screwed up a shot. Hilarious, Ellen!

* Best dressed: Will Smith, Helen Mirren, Cameron Diaz, Beyonce (on-stage at top)

* Looked better than ever: Cameron Diaz, Queen Latifah, Reece Witherspoon

* Sexiest woman: Helen Mirren. And atta girl, Your Highness, for the well-deserved win!
Helen Mirren was a shoe-in to win Best Actress at the 2007 Oscars
* Best earrings: Penelope Cruz

* Forrest Whitaker... Acceptance speech?

* Finally: Kudos to MARTIN SCORSESE 4 BEST DIRECTOR! It's about darned time.

BTW: Here's a fun re-cap from the Washington Post.

Links: Read the whole post...

? Al Sharpton <-------> Strom Thurmond ?


Rev. Al Sharpton learned that his is related to Senator Strom Thurmond

In a most astounding turn of events, it's been discovered that the controversial Senator Strom Thurmond (R-SC) is a blood relative of his polar opposite, the Rev. Sharpton. Seriously. This gives whole new meaning to truisms such as "Never say never" and "You can't choose your relatives." The staggering news was brought to the civil right activist by an Ancestry.com genealogy team that included Tony Burroughs, a professor here at Chicago State University.

Senator Thurmond died in 2003, but not before dedicating most of his 100 years to racial divisiveness. However after his death, to the astonishment of many, an African American named Essie Mae Washington-Williams made national headlines, stepping forward as the "secret daughter" of the staunch segregationist.

And now this...

The family connection involves Rev. Sharpton's great-grandfather and Sen. Thurmond's great-great grandfather. Probably picking himself up off the floor, Rev. Sharpton said, "It's chilling. It's amazing..."

It would appear a very intense gene for protest exists in this bloodline. Rev. Sharpton is planning a press conference to discuss it. Perhaps by then, his near-speechlessness will have passed. A boycott of Ancestry.com also could be in the works.


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In Your Dreams, Girl: From Jennifer Holliday to Jennifer Hudson


Jennifer Holliday in the 1982 hit musical Dreamgirls

One of my favorite weekend rituals is watching CBS's Sunday Morning, but sometimes I miss it. So glad I caught it today though, as an original Dreamgirls star -- diva Jennifer Holliday -- was interviewed! She had a lot to say on this special day... the day that "her" character, Effie White, may win an unseasoned actress named Jennifer Hudson an Oscar.

"I never got to turn Effie off, the way that Jennifer Hudson can," Holliday told interviewer Russ Mitchell. She admits she lived the character of Effie for many years -- obviously becoming an unhealthy "one" with her Tony Award-winning muse.

Like the character she brought to life in the spectacular Broadway musical, Holliday felt pushed off-stage, unrequited. It didn't much matter that she was celebrated as Time magazine's Performer of the Year. She'd actually quit the play at one point, unhappy because her character didn't get stage-time throughout. She might have felt better about herself when the producers tweaked the script and brought her back in the mix. But by then, she had become in real life the same defeated, lonely woman as Effie.

By this time, Jennifer weighed over 300 lbs. -- 100 of those pounds she had gained in one year. (She really liked Popeye's Chicken -- a lot of it.) So on her 30th birthday, Jennifer Holliday attempted suicide. She was diagnosed with clinical depression.

Jennifer Holliday may watch tonight's Oscars show with a touch of green-eyed envy.  She wanted to revive her role for the hit movie, which may win Jennifer Hudson an award for Best Supporting Actress
Luckily time heals old wounds. In the early nineties, she found hope in gastric bypass surgery. She dropped over 200 pounds and now her inner-light shines bright. She has recorded and toured over the years, primarily for gay and gospel audiences. She even secured a recurring role on Ally McBeal, playing a choir director. She'd finally moved on. Living, loving, twice divorcing and performing. Then, a ghost from the past came back to haunt her...

"It was a test when I heard Dreamgirls was coming up for a movie," said J-Holl. The role of Effie -- she was absolutely certain -- was hers! She waited and waited for DreamWorks to call about starring in the film. But the call never came. Needless to say, she is hurt. "Not even a call about making a cameo...?"

When asked by Russ Mitchell what she thinks of the movie, Jennifer says, "I think Dreamgirls is good..." (I notice she didn't rave about it, saying it was Great! Fantasic!) She adds, "It felt as though I was seeing myself on screen."

Holliday also feels that Jennifer Hudson did "a good job," but adds a telling between-the-lines about "not wanting to go against what everyone else is saying." (In other words, she's sure she could have delivered a better Effie.)

But J-Holl seems to have come full-circle. She looks beautiful, healthy and hopeful. Her signature song, she says, is now a source of strength for her. Nowadays, whenever she sings "And I'm Telling You (I'm Not Going)" Holliday says she performs it like never before.



Given the determined gleam I saw in her eyes during the interview, I believe her.

Read more:
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Saturday

"O" is for "Obama"


"O" say can you see... what tomorrow may bring? Congratulations to the graphic design team at Chicago-based Sender LLC for producing this o-so-hot logo for Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign. I like!


Advertising agencies spend untold hours analyzing reams of data and pondering a universe of minutia before coming up with a successful branding image such as this. Sender's logo for Obama is crisp and simple, appropriately patriotic, and -- best of all -- reflects the strong sense of hope being on the horizon that he's inspiring across the country.

Learn what the designers told Crain's Chicago Business about their prestigious assignment here.

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The Oscars -- What the Survey (Didn't) Said


I just participated in a quickie online poll over at the Washington Post. The question:

What was the most egregious snub of this year's Oscar
nominations?


  • No "Dreamgirls" for Best Picture

  • No Leonardo DiCaprio Nod for "The Departed"

  • No Jack Nicholson for Best Supporting Actor

  • No Brad Pitt for Supporting Actor

  • No "Volver" for Foreign Language Film

  • No Sacha Baron Cohen for Best Actor


I clicked the third choice, that Jack Nicholson was snubbed for his performance in The Departed. Feel the same about Matt Damon, too. How on Earth could these two not have been nominated for Best Supporting Actor? Nicholson's Frank Costello was the baddest mofo on the silver screen last year. And his crooked side-kick, Sullivan, was played with brilliant deviance by Damon. Makes me think there's too much politics involved with the Academy Awards.


Jack Nicholson and Matt Damon were magnificent in The Departed

So I clicked through my vote, sure The World would agree... and was shocked! In most people's opinion, there's a far greater snub than my Jack & Matt disappointment. Makes me wonder if movie-goers are drinking left-over Kool-Aid from Jonestown or what?

Well, hopefully, Martin Scorcese will get his long-overdue Best Picture award for this exceptional film.

To vote and/or see for yourself what people feel is the worst snub going into the Oscars: click.

Links:

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Oscar Party: Serving Statuesque Martinis, Dahling


Roll out the red carpet for the Oscars

Want to roll out the red carpet for friends coming over to watch the Oscars? Why not treat them like movie stars: send them spiralling out of control thanks to these delicious martini recipes. The site gives instructions for mixing over 200 varieties of the world's most popular cocktail, ranging from a Mojito or Barbed Wire Martini to the garden variety Apple or blazing Jamaican Martini.

Why, a good martini could even keep the peace at your Oscar Party: If someone's favorite movie or actor gets over-looked, they'll be too tore-up to notice!

Just keep queasy people away from your casting couch. No cookie- or salad-tossing allowed...

S.S.S. - Serving Mental Martinis, Shaken Not Stirred

Links: Read the whole post...

Friday

Obama & Mother Jones: Rapping Knuckles Over Iraq



Lost track of who's on first in Iraq? Not sure it really qualifies as a civil war? Unclear why we should care? Know what U.S. tax payers are getting for$2 billion/week? Not sure, but want money back?

Well, Mother Jones is teaching one heck of a lesson here: Iraq 101.
Links:
Barack Obama today became the teacher's pet with this one-two punch about Iraq. A free sample:

Speaking at a massive outdoor rally in Austin, Texas, Obama said British Prime Minister Tony Blair's decision this week to withdraw 1,600 troops is a recognition that Iraq's problems can't be solved militarily.
"Now if Tony Blair can understand that, then why can't George Bush and Dick Cheney understand that?" Obama asked thousands of supporters who gathered in the rain to hear him.
"In fact, Dick Cheney said this is all part of the plan (and) it was a good
thing that Tony Blair was withdrawing, even as the administration is preparing
to put 20,000 more of our young men and women in.
"Now, keep in mind, this is the same guy that said we'd be greeted as liberators, the same guy that said that we're in the last throes. I'm sure he forecast sun today," Obama said to laughter from supporters holding campaign signs over their heads to keep dry.
"When Dick Cheney says it's a good thing, you know that you've probably got some
big problems."
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Forrest Whitaker: Eating Idi's Hat




The Last King has been nominated for an Oscar, with its star, Amin-alike Forrest Whitaker, up to win the Best Actor award. But a son of Idi Amin takes issue with how his father, the late dictaor of Uganda, was portrayed.

The film was just released in Uganda; Jaffar Amin nor any other family member attended the premier. He did, however, watch "Last King" later, at home on DVD. Now the dutiful son, Jaffar Amin, speaks out via this interview in today's Washington Post:

Though he doesn't deny the atrocities attributed to his father during his
reign of terror, he says the film will compound many of the negative images on
which he is now trying to shed light.
He acknowledges he faces a difficult
battle trying to humanize Idi Amin.
Jeeze... And I thought the Amin family would be relieved the film did such a fine job of dispelling that myth about Amin practicing cannibalism.

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