And Then They Came For Britney

This blog has declined to take a side in the Taylor Swift vs. Katy Perry feud. We weren’t ready to face the world’s ugliness, head-on. As punishment for our negligence, we’ve paid an unimaginable price.

Katy Perry is on the cover of Elle‘s March issue. Elle is apparently interviewing and featuring all kinds of people these days. When asked about the being a pop “star”, Katy Perry replied:

“It is a hundred times harder a dream than the dream that I dreamt when I was nine…You think you signed up for one thing, but you automatically sign up for a hundred others. And that is why you see people shaving their fucking heads.”

Katy, I can’t imagine what it’s like to have your job be harder than you imagined it would be when you were nine. I’m sure that’s awful and you have my sympathies. But Katy, you don’t need to worry about why people shave their fucking heads. I understand fame. I’ve performed in three professional melodramas in a small gambling town in Colorado. I’ve had my chicken fingers bought for me in a casino, unsolicited. But you don’t hear me telling Elle “that is why you see people marrying David fucking Gest.” Because you see, Katy, people like us can’t understand the motivations of superstars.

No one but the greats can understand why some things happen.

This was bigger than you or I could comprehend.

People  who shave their fucking heads were the most memorable part of a Superbowl performance that also included Aerosmith and N’Sync at a time when people still wanted to have sex with all the members of both bands*. People who shave their fucking heads danced their goddamn faces off and were more compelling than a million silver tiger/lion puppet things**. People who shave their fucking heads are known as the “Princess of Pop” not the “Gallagher of Pop.”

Learn from his subtlety.

Learn from his subtlety.

Because, for real Katy, you and Taylor Swift can fight through songs and Twitter and left shark attacks all day long. Go nuts. Have John Mayer throw shade and complain about how you’ve been cast as the mean girl while lesser DJs fight your battles for you. But leave Britney Spears out of it. She is a national goddamn treasure and we’ll be listening to “Hit Me Baby, One More Time” long after people can’t remember that “Firework” and “White Horse” existed. Hell, we’ll be listening to “Mmmm Papi” that long. Don’t worry about why people shave their heads. That’s never going to be your concern.

Britney Superbowl

Treasure.

*Mostly.

**Seriously great to see the War Horse people working though.

Life is Disappointing, No?

Goddammit you guys. Everything is the worst. Picture it: A nice girl lives in Brooklyn off the G train. The G train goes out of commission for the entire month of August. This girl has to take three trains to work. She has to be patient with extra wait times and crowded trains and getting up early and getting home late. It’s fine, she tells herself. Come September, all will be resolved. The girl takes the G through its full route on September 2nd to find MTA workers handing out fliers promising the girl that the G train was new and improved, never to return to its previous inefficiency.

"The G Train is Back". Hah.

“The G is Back”. Hah.

Trouble is, the girl is me. And me waited for the fucking G train for 25 minutes this morning. No explanations, no excuses. The conductor just kept yelling at us to stand clear of the closing doors. Some of us were clear, sir. Some of us were clear.

But, unlike the G train, there were several opportunities to quickly jump on disappointment today. Guys, Nev from MTV’s Catfish is a piece of shit. Who could have imagined that someone who makes a living following the emotionally delicate journeys of people who are willingly fooled on the Internet would turn out to be a total craphole? Who could have foreseen that someone on reality TV wasn’t as genuine as he appeared. Nev, second cutest host in a set of two, posted a hilarious and/or poignant photo of himself in an “abuse free” elevator onto the Twitter today. Fun fact about Nev, he punched a girl in the face in college. At Sarah Lawrence University. She was trying to get him to stop taking photos of her kissing her partner. Fuuuucckkkkk. Next thing you’ll tell me Roger Goodell had plenty of opportunities to see that video.

But all of this is just disappointment Funfetti on a disappointment cupcake. Guys, Taylor Swift is fighting with Katy Perry. And Taylor promised us it wasn’t even about a guy! And I, sucker for the ages, believed her. I figured they had professional beef, which I totally understand. There was this bitch at my old restaurant who never mise en place-d properly and I would have loved the opportunity to shade her in Rolling Stone. Women fighting over business in the media is the next step in kicking through the glass ceiling, right? Nope, wrong.

Tense cheekbones of rage.

Tense cheekbones of rage.

Not only are Taylor Swift and Katy Perry* fighting over a guy, they are fighting over human wet sneeze, John Mayer. Of all the men in all the corners unnecessarily playing guitar in the world, they are fighting over John “David Duke dick” Mayer. Taylor, it wasn’t supposed to be about a guy, and it’s about the guy.

G train, Nev, Katy and Taylor most of all, I can’t with you, so I’ll hand the mic to Tyra:

*My mom mentioned Katy Perry three times this weekend. This cannot be a coincidence.

Meme Mondays: In The Land Of Bad Ideas

Slide1

 

Meme Mondays are proof that anyone can master technology but that it takes a world leader to throw world-class shade.

 

But seriously, in three months we’re going to have to hear a song entitled, “President of My Heart” all about how Taylor Swift voted for someone and was subsequently betrayed by him. And it’s going to play everywhere.

 

What’s the Deal With Anne Hathaway?(Read it like Seinfeld would….Please?!)

I can’t stand Anne Hathaway. And on the Internet, I’m not remotely alone. That sucks for her. She has not wronged us personally. Probably; I don’t know your life. I do know that every acceptance speech she’s made this awards season has made me want to eat my fist until it bursts through the back of my neck and I die and can’t feel annoyed anymore. More than Taylor Swift’s “I can’t believe anyone even came” face every time she walks out onstage to sing a song, Seth MacFarlane’s “ironic” racist/sexist/homophia jokes, and Zooey Deschanel’s whole entire career, hearing Anne Hathaway’s little baby voice coo “It came true” into the face of her brand new Oscar makes me cry blood with irritation.

I don’t think Anne Hathaway had a single doubt in her mind that she was going to sweep every acting award this year. That rankles me because she didn’t do a great job as Fantine (cue half the Internet screaming that I am crazy and the other half throwing side-eyes of truth my way-yes, the whole Internet reads this blog). She overacted and never addressed the realities of Fantine’s life and the amount of time she had been living with them. That said, Anne Hathaway is a good actress. She’s a feminist. She’s beautiful. She thrives on the rightfully earned admiration of the masses. We are basically twins. And there, in fact, is the rub.

Anne Hathaway’s her false modesty is cloying. She would be better served to just openly display how deeply in love with herself she is (See: Paltro, Gwenneth; Knowles, Beyonce; Strauss-Kahn, Dominique). Narcissism is more easily forgiven than insincerity. I walked into a wall checking myself out in the mirror about twenty minutes ago, so I get it.

Anne Hathaway’s haters know that deep down inside of each of us is a bullshit narcissist rife with false modesty just waiting for that big break. I know or fear that I would go up to accept an award and thank someone for “the best string of yesterdays” like an asshole.

I don’t have designers giving me dresses or unlimited acting opportunities floating across my agent’s desk*. And I sure as fuck don’t have dental insurance through a performers’ guild. But I can imagine that if I had those things and continued to have them and hustled for more and was continually surrounded by more and more people who basked in my hot air (there’s a fart joke in there, but I’m not touching it) I can see how I might become the person who fake-laughingly replies, “Nonsense!” when someone tells me I am a gift to my craft, all the while silently thinking “I’m aware, Rex Reed.”

We are all Anne Hathaway.

I’m glad awards season is over.

Its just

 

*I have neither an agent nor a desk.

Personal Liveblog About The Golden Globes

The Awesome Opossum and I have been liveblogging this entire awards show, but only on our phones, to each other. We might just try to get it together for the Oscars to do it here, but here’s a little taste of what we sound like when we are alone:

AO: Who would you rather hang out with? You HAVE to choose:

PP: Haha, ok

AO: Anne Hathaway or Taylor swift

PP: Oh sweet Jesus

AO: And either way you are going to run into Lena Dunham have to make small talker with her for 5 mins

PP: Taylor. She would be annoying but only about her personal life. I feel like Anne Hathaway only knows how to talk to strangers about her craft

PP: And you?

AO: Oh I would pick Anne

AO: I would really probably kill Taylor swift

AO: Or at least try to get her hooked in crack

PP: More details.

AO: I feel Anne at least is a grown up and can carry a conversation. Taylor would only talk about unicorns and cotton candy and give me tips on dating a high schooler

AO: Joaquin Phoenix just doesnt give a shit

PP: I would prefer the latter to having someone drone on about every moment of her acting career

AO: Fair

AO: I bet you really could convince Taylor to do crack so maybe that would be worth it

PP: I would probably be mean to Taylor and then I could have a song about me and her called “bad friend/sad friend”

AO: Haha that is a great plan

Is There A World You Long To See?

Probably you haven’t heard of it or read a single opinion on it, but I saw a movie called Les Miserables this weekend and, pioneer that I am, I’m going to talk about it on the Internet. There were some great things. There were some mediocre things. And there were some God-awful terrible things born in Australia who have a history of violent outbursts and an Oscar.Srsly. U guyz. Srsly.

Let’s start with the unpleasant things. They were Russell Crowe and Helena Bonham Carter. I swear on every panda picture on this entire goddamn blog, if one person even thinks, “Oh, come on. They tried to sing. They were singing live! That seems hard….”, I will lose it. Singing live is hard. People devote their entire lives to developing the skill. People wait fucking tables for decades to chase the dream of playing fucking Javert or Madame Thenardier. Watching both of them butcher their respective roles with shitty voices (Russell was ok with the lower register, but “Stars” was so wispily sung, I wondered if they brought Taylor Swift in to ghost sing.), dead behind the eyes acting, and stiff body posture, I finally understood how struggling comedians feel about Dane Cook*.Yup

The mediocre things were Anne Hathaway. There was technically nothing wrong with her. Her voice was fine. I didn’t mind her take on “I Dreamed a Dream”. It was adequate and certainly not warranting the three-month apology tour she’s been doing about it. But it was grating that her character, Fantine, literally never stopped crying. You think she’d get dehydrated after a while. Like, Fantine left behind a five year old, not an infant. There was time to move through the stages of grief. She went from being barely not on the streets during the French Revolution to being on the streets during the French Revolution; it wasn’t a huge leap. I imagine that at some point she would buck up in an attempt to struggle to survive. So, I liked that she committed to it, but I was confused and annoyed by the choice if ceaseless crying.

The great things were Gavroche, the surprisingly unannoying child revolutionary; Sasha Baron Cohen, who is as much a gift to musical theater as he is to comedy; the priest at the beginning who gives Jean Valjean an unwarranted and merciful pardon. He was my first, but not my last, mid-movie hard cry. The best thing in the movie is Aaron Tveit . I would fight for France under his Enjolras.So.Good.

The long and the short of it is that everyone was British in a weird way, there are way too many close-ups, there was a ten minute scene where multiple characters were immersed in human excrement. I loved it**. I only stopped crying long enough to be utterly annoyed by Anne Hathaway, and then immediately picked back up. The ending is beautiful and inspiring. I’m tearing up at the memory***. The worst of it can’t undermine the best, not by a long shot.

 

*Sorry, Dane. NOT sorry, Russell and Helena.

**The movie, not the poop.

***Fair point: Tonight at an improv show, I cried at a joke about a baby chicken. 

“One of the Boys” is a Song that Katy Perry Sings and the Name of One of Her Albums

You guys, you can calm down now. Katy Perry is officially on the record as “not a feminist.” I know you were afraid she would announce that she was one and then she would be hideously ugly forever. If someone tells me he or she is a feminist, I instantly distance myself from them, fearful of being hit on or recruited to grow my leg hair out for the eventual mandatory feminist leg hair harvesting for the sisterly braiding of a noose to strangle the patriarchy. Thank the good Lord himself that a woman who shoots whipped cream out of her nipples and sings about “Daisy Dukes [on the bottom] bikinis on top!”* is not a feminist. That would literally crush my soul.Instead I'll do a panda dance

Alarmingly, she does believe in “the strength of women”, which, to the ignorant ear sounds a lot like feminism. “The strength of women” almost sounds like something that feminism would be based on, along with basic feminist tenets of equal opportunities for men and women, equal pay for equal work, a woman’s having autonomy over her own biological choices, supporting other women, and standing up for your principles. “The strength of women” rings suspiciously close to the grotesque feminist idea that women have the wherewithal to choose whether to be homemakers or work outside the home, whether they want to have children or remain independent, whether they can get divorced, whether they are allowed to have sex before marriage.Excellent

I’m being unfair to Katy Perry. Her desire to distance herself from the pervasive, man-hating, PCU** vision of feminism that continues to plague women’s rights is totally understandable. Feminism by reputation is the boogey-man that claims your womanhood and castrates every man around you. Feminism in practice is the name for the feeling of annoyance when some random dude on the street tells you to “Smile, beautiful” and the reason your boss can’t grab your ass when he asks you to get that report on his desk before five. Feminism lets us go to college and vote and enjoy sex just as much as our male counterparts. Feminism is wearing pants. It’s not about being better than men or hating men. It’s about being judged as an individual, regardless of gender.

How lucky that someone fought so she could do this....

How lucky that someone fought so she could do this….

So Katy Perry is not a feminist. Neither is Taylor Swift. (I know, right? Pick your jaw up off the ground.) That’s ok. They are allowed to choose that, because women can be anything they want to be. Which is the basic principle of feminism.

*Now I will have California Girls, which is dangerously catchy, in my head all afternoon.

**PCU is a movie made when John Favreau was thin and Jeremy Piven had his own hair. George Clinton is in it. It’s from 1994. It comes on Comedy Central when you least expect it.

Haters Wanna Hate

There is a news story at or near the top of every gossip blog’s site today: Taylor Swift did not win any awards at the CMA’s last night. I love celebrity minutiae, but even I can’t find one ounce of interest to spend on this story. Taylor Swift didn’t win an award? Big fucking deal. People don’t win awards all the time. I haven’t won any awards all week but you don’t see DListed.com spending an entire post talking about it.

I do not like Taylor Swift. On the scale of Zooey Deschanel to Shannen Doherty, she’s not as terrible as Zooey “that y tells you I’m quirky” Deschanel, but she’s definitely more annoying than Anne Hathaway, and can’t even approach the midway point of Kristen Stewart Neutrality. Even considering her low status, I can’t understand the universal schadenfreude at her losses last night. Artists (and Taylor Swift) make music. Sometimes people like it, sometimes critics like it, sometimes no one likes it. Most of my favorite audition songs were met with blank stares to critical and patronizing looks from casting directors behind the table. Sure, typing that sentence makes me die inside, but the point is you win some, you lose some. Taylor Swift’s music is always supremely mediocre; it’s nice that the Country Music Awards committee has honored and recognized that, but that doesn’t really make it news.

Between incessant election coverage and Superstorm Sandy (which sounds more like a WalMart competitor than a devastating natural disaster), America is thirsting for good celebrity gossip. I exhausted my internet resources today desperately seeking something ridiculous. A Lindsey Lohan “exhaustion incident.” Paris Hilton offending an entire demographic without any irony. Maybe a Kanye and Kim story that didn’t involve them just wearing Halloween costumes. I need real shadenfreude, not this hollow, Taylor Swift didn’t win some award that a bunch of other people also didn’t win sham. Shame on you, gossip blog community. New York is in bad shape, but LA and London, there is no excuse. I need stars and semi-stars to make messes so I can feel smugly superior enough to power me through the end of this exhausting week, not news of something that didn’t happen. If anyone needs me, I’ll be gazing down on 5thAvenue, hoping to catch a Real Housewife (any wife at all) stealing money from a street urchin.

Dear Gossip Fates, If you will make it the Countess, I will never complain about how much people care about stuff that I don’t care about again. Love,
Panda

I’m Not A Princess, This Ain’t A Fairy Tale

I drove to Paramus on Monday to sample the local low-cost furniture and gas station culture of New Jersey. I rarely listen to the radio, and so had not yet heard Taylor Swift’s new(?) song, “We Are Never, Ever Getting Back Together.” Monday, I heard it one and a half times, which was one time more than I needed to decide I do not like it. It is not good.

I am a huge fan of her Fearless album. I know all the lyrics. “The Way You Loved Me” is on my iPod’s This Is How We Do It workout mix. I love a musician who writes her own music. Her voice is nice and doesn’t sound all auto-tuned

But Taylor Swift is annoying. She has won plenty of awards. She has been amply interviewed. She has dated all the famous men. Why does she still act, every single time that she appears onstage, or at a ceremony, or on the television, like she is shocked that anyone bought tickets/honored her/has questions about her life? False modesty is annoying. That said, I sympathize with the instinct towards it; women are conditioned from day one to strain for likeability, forsaking all other qualities. There was a time in my life that any time anyone complimented me, I would invariably compliment them back, whether or not I meant it. I thought that was the perfect balance of modesty and manners. I was wrong.

This desire to be seen as nice manifests itself in other ways, a la the scene in Mean Girls where Regina George tells another girl that she loves her skirt, “So retro!”, only to turn around and snark on the skirt the second the girl walks away. If I dated a bunch of super famous dudes and then spilled all of their details in an international forum and made a ton of money for it, the society’s guillotine judgment would fall on me hard, like it has notorious kiss-and-tellers Rachel Uchitel, Karrine Steffans, and, God willing, Arnold Schwarzenegger, but when Taylor Swift does it to four ascending and descending notes, it’s art and brave of her to share her personal life.

I don’t know why T-Swift can’t gracefully receive praise, and write songs that don’t sound like my middle school diary, or date anyone without then revealing their private details in a song casting herself as the sweetest ingénue in her own personal romantic comedy. While many of her songs are catchy, and God knows, easy to sing, she is bad for women. We shame Britney and Ke$ha for running around in skimpy outfits and promoting promiscuity, but at least they promote strong confident female images. All Taylor Swift’s guffawing and aw-shucksing is especially bad for her young female fan base, not to mention national treasure, John Mayer, who doesn’t need any more negative press.

The Aptly Names Les Miserables

When I was thirteen, my Girl Scout troop traveled to the Big Apple. We had tons of plans packed into one weekend, but the thing I was most excited about was seeing my first Broadway show. I had been doing theatre for eight years at that point and I knew that the Broadway stage was my destiny.

Sitting in the darkening theatre, my arms were covered in goosebumps. As the orchestra struck the first chord of the overture, I felt my heart nearly burst. My first Broadway show was the incredible Les Miserables. From “I Dreamed a Dream” to “Stars”, I was riveted. As every thirteen year old girl who loves musical theatre did, I loved Eponine, the French Revolution’s embodiment of Bella from Twilight. She had the best songs; she was misunderstood; she loved a boy who would never love her in return; she died in the most awesomely dramatic way ever. We were basically the same person.

I still know all the words to that glorious musical. Which is why, when I heard Working Title Films and Universal Pictures were coming out with a movie version, I died inside.

The magic era of movie musicals is over. Chicago notwithstanding, there has not been a good movie musical since the original Hairspray and the movie Crybaby. America has grown too cynical to either make or appreciate a quality musical brought to film. Examples include, but are not limited to Rent, Nine, Phantom of the Opera, Footloose (the remake), Hairspray (the remake), Mama Mia, The Producers (the remake), and if secondhand-embarrassment-inducing previews are any indication Rock of Ages. Big studios can’t bear to bring in people who can actually sing and act, preferring big names over actual talent; movie-goers don’t give a crap about seeing something moving through song on the big screen, preferring to see reality stars instead of Broadway veterans.

All this to say, for everyone who thought Anne Hathaway as Fantine would be the most irritating casting choice of the season (when did she stop being the awesome actress who I loved so much in The Devil Wears Prada and start sounding like such a douche in interviews?), Taylor Swift is going to play Eponine.

Taylor Swift was so cute when she first burst onto the scene, but three platinum albums in, her fake humility act is getting a little old. Add that to the fact that she couldn’t even believably play a regular teen girl in the movie Valentine’s Day, AND the fact that I have never heard her sing above a C and what you have is the worst movie musical casting choice since they tapped Gerard Butler to play the Phantom. “Taylor Swift plays Eponine” sounds like the kind of joke I’d make about a cast of Les Miserables that includes Martha Stewart as Madame Thenardier and Lindsay Lohan as Cosette. “Taylor Swift plays Eponine” is a phrase that almost made my contact get stuck in the back of my head, my eyes rolled so hard. “Taylor Swift plays Eponine” is the kind of marquis I would expect to see over a Nashville community theatre in about ten years in an E! special of “Pop Stars: Where Are They Now?”

I like anything that inspires popular interest in musicals and encourages people to go enjoy live theatre. It’s why I keep my Glee critiques to a minimum. But producing mediocre movies that only hint at the greatness that can be achieved on Broadway is completely depressing.